But in a seemingly unfair twist, A.J. Price rolled his ankle in the third quarter, forcing the Wizards to convert a shooting guard into the backup to the backup point guard while trailing by 22 points. Jordan Crawford and some end-of-bench reserves staged a valiant run to get within three points with five minutes left, only to be thwarted once again in the closing seconds at American Airlines Center.
“We shouldn’t be in that position all the time,” Crawford said after scoring a team-high 21 points while handing out seven assists. “Maybe they should be one shot away and we should be up, playing the right way. We’ve got to do some things to switch that around.”
With the Detroit Pistons defeating the Philadelphia 76ers earlier in the evening, the Wizards are alone at the bottom of the NBA to start a season for the second year in a row. Their 0-7 start is the second-worst in franchise history, one loss from matching the team record they set last season.
“We’ve got to keep fighting and not get discouraged,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “But it’s hard sometimes not to get discouraged.”
Before Crawford, Kevin Seraphin, Cartier Martin, Jannero Pargo and Jan Vesely led an inspired 34-point fourth quarter, the only breaks the Wizards could get were bad ones. If Bradley Beal wasn’t getting knocked over on drives to the hoop and still not picking up a foul, Trevor Booker was running down a loose ball and colliding with Elton Brand as he made a jumper while falling on his backside. If Vesely missed a layup, Chris Kaman was dunking on the other end. If the Wizards were clanking three-pointers, the Mavericks were converting them into easing fast-break points.
A night after getting dismantled in Charlotte, the Wizards were nearly knocked out before halftime against a Mavericks team that was playing without Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) and Shawn Marion (strained left knee ligament) and bears no resemblance to the squad that won an NBA championship just 17 months ago.
Beal, the third overall draft pick, had another forgettable night, scoring just eight points on 3-for-14 shooting and couldn’t hide his frustration at the end of the first half when he missed an attempted dunk over Kaman and thought he was fouled. Asked his impressions of the play, Beal said, “I can’t say anything about that or I’ll get fined.”
Wittman complained to the officials for most of the night, begging for fouls as his team attacked the basket but got outshot from the foul line, 33-11.