Solid first half wasted in loss to Mavericks
The collapse wasn't complete. Down seven points with a minute and a half to play, the Wizards had drawn up a play during a timeout after forcing a shot clock violation.
But then Garrett Temple fired a pass off Shawn Marion's back. And Vince Carter flew down the lane for an uncontested monster slam. And the Wizards began 2013 looking like they did in 2012, dropping a seemingly winnable game to struggling Dallas 103-94 before 14,456 at Verizon Center.
The 35-year-old Carter finished with a game-high 23 points, two short of his season high. He opened the game with a one-handed jam and made it look like it was 2003, not 10 years later, as he helped the Mavericks (13-19) snap a six-game losing streak in which they had fallen by an average of 19.2 points.
"I was telling him the whole time, 'You still can jump as high as you used to,'?" Wizards rookie Bradley Beal said. "He was like, 'I'm getting old.' I remember him a little bit, all his spectacular dunks he did, and he still has some athleticism in him."
With his bobblehead being handed out to fans, the 19-year-old Beal tied his career high with 22 points, including four 3-pointers, ending a 0-for-17 streak from behind the arc that dated to Dec. 15.
The Wizards (4-25) had a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points after one quarter but got just one the rest of the way. They had a 20-8 margin on the boards in the first against a team that allows the most opposition rebounds in the NBA but finished barely ahead 44-42. They had a 14-point lead after an 8-0 run to start the second quarter but appeared to forget who they were playing.
"I don't know what they're thinking," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "... This is a veteran team with guys that have won a championship. They're reeling, but they were a wounded animal coming in here. I don't think our guys were thinking that at all."
Martell Webster and Emeka Okafor each had 14 points, with Okafor adding 11 rebounds. O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison each had 15 for the Mavericks, who outscored the Wizards 35-19 in the third quarter, the most points Washington allowed in the period all year.
Marion (11 points, 14 rebounds) put Dallas in front for the first time since the game's opening basket with six points during an 8-0 run. He played physical defense on Nene, stealing the ball and going in for an uncontested jam for a 61-58 lead. Dirk Nowitzki also added six of his 11 points in the third and shot 5-for-7 for the game. It was the 2011 NBA Finals MVP's best showing of the year so far in his fifth game back following right knee surgery.
"I think we gave the game," said Nene, who struggled to seven points on 2-for-10 shooting. "We have a great first start, and they have experience. They have good players right there. We wake up the beast."