The Washington Wizards (0-7) rallied in the fourth quarter in time to pull within three points of the Dallas Mavericks (5-4) with little more than 20 seconds left to play, but they failed to catch the team, which made a mockery of Washington’s defense in the first half.
As it turns out, misery doesn’t always love company. After the Detroit Pistons managed a win earlier Wednesday night, the Wizards were officially dealt the honor of being the last remaining winless team in the NBA. A loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday would mean Washington, at the very least, will tie last year’s 0-8 record to start the season.
It wasn’t all bad for the victory-starved Wizards. Jordan Crawford led the squad with 21 points – 17 of which were in the second half – and seven assists, but the Mavericks could have – and should have – run away with the win early on, had they not fallen apart for a large portion of the second half.
There was parity between the two teams at the start of the game. For every shot the Mavericks’ Chris Kaman tallied, A.J. Price or Bradley Beal had an answer, and when the clock ran out at the end of the first, the Wizards were down by only four points.
In the second quarter, however, things became downright embarrassing for the Wizards’ defense, which was virtually nonexistent. The Mavericks managed a whopping 40 points in the quarter, breaking their previous record of 37 for any quarter this season. And, while O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison did little to present the Wizards with opportunities, Washington, yet again, missed wide open shots and handed the Mavericks free throw opportunities, which hurt them in the long run.
The Wizards simply lacked the capacity to deliver with consistency – and it proved costly in their failure to regain a lead after entering the second half, trailing by 18.
That isn’t to say they didn’t put forth a rather uncharacteristically valiant effort.
As if things weren’t bad enough for the Wizards, who continue to count the days until John Wall and Nene return, Wall’s backup – A.J. Price – left the game just a minute into the third quarter after rolling his ankle.
But, the bad luck didn’t stop there.
After trailing by as many as 22 points in the third quarter, the Wizards went on a 15-0 tear, thanks in part to a pair of three-pointers from Jordan Crawford. Of all the Wizards to spark a full-blown rally, Cartier Martin stepped in with back-to-back shots from behind the arc to pull the Wizards within three of the Mavs. He had further help from Kevin Seraphin, who posted 14 points in the quarter.
The Martin-Seraphin duo kept it close for the Wizards and, with just over 20 seconds left of play, Washington trailed by only three after Martin sunk yet another three-pointer to make it 104-101 Mavericks.
However, it was Kaman’s night to emerge the hero of the game, which marked only his second start for the Mavericks.
Kaman found the net once more to make it 106-101 Mavericks, and drew a foul off Jan Vesely to add salt to Washington’s wounds with less than 10 seconds left.
Needless to say, despite having shot 48.1% from the field, the Wizards will return to Washington without a win to their name.