The Washington Post

Wizards vs Mavericks: Game 29 Open Thread

Guess what day it is? (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

The Wizards have improved considerably since losing to the Dallas Mavericks, 105-95, on Dec. 12. Back then, they were a team still struggling to find an identity, unable to stop anyone and in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

After losing in San Antonio the next night, Nene called out his younger teammates and the Wizards have managed to right themselves. “We’re completely better at everything,” John Wall said. “We know what to do, game plan defensively-wise. We didn’t move the ball as much as we have been lately. And we wasn’t playing great defense at that time. We didn’t fight with that urgency down the stretch and let the game slip away.

Washington (14-14) has won five of six to get back to .500 and would have a winning record for the first time since October 2009 with a win over Dallas. The Mavericks (18-13) rank eighth in the NBA at 103.8 points per game and Coach Randy Wittman said the Wizards weren’t going to win a shootout.

“We weren’t very good to start the year defensively,” he said. “And I think we’ve grown a lot from a defensive standpoint, from the last time we played them. That’s going to be important. They can score points. We can’t get this game into a game where we try to outscore. We’re going to have to get stops.”

The Wizards have only defeated one team that currently has a winning record – Atlanta. They are 1-7 against teams that are above .500.

(TV: Comcast SportsNet. Radio: WFED-1500).

Here’s some reading to help you get ready for the game:

Back at .500, Wizards know more work needs to be done

Marcin Gortat improving after injuring thumb in Detroit

Wizards reserves to the rescue

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.



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Michael Lee · January 1, 2014