The Wizards looked to move on from last night’s fourth quarter collapse opening this game 5-6 from the field to take an early 12-5 lead. Wesley Matthews, just recently initiated into the Wizards’ Killer Fraternity, knocked down two of his first three three-pointers to start the game because of course he would. The Wizards three point defense was not pretty early as they were often left scrambling and for some reason would leave Matthews open.
John Wall got to the hole at ease in the first half including this nifty layup knifing through the Mavs’ defense.
The Wizards were up 49-42 with just two minutes to play in the half and endured a mini-letdown getting outscored 8-2 to end the quarter. Even so, the Wizards led 51-50 at halftime on 55 percent shooting.
The third quarter of this game was the Wizards’ best of the season. The Wizards opened up the half on a 17-5 run. Otto caught fire scoring 17 points on 7-8 field goals in the quarter. Gary Neal was hitting corner threes, John Wall was hitting threes late in the shot clock. The Wizards were up 90-72 and would coast to an easy win right?
The Wizards kept their turnovers in check for most of the game but started coughing the ball up in the fourth. The worst of them coming with just 32 seconds to play leading to an easy layup for the Mavs.
With the Wizards up one, and just 3.7 seconds to play; John Wall confidently walked to the line and knocked down two free throws to stretch the lead to three.
Dirk Nowitzki had a chance to tie the game but missed a three-pointer as time expired. Wizards avoid a huge meltdown, hang on 114-111.
Huge games all around: Otto Porter scored a career-high 28 points on 11-18 shooting. Otto was automatic in the third quarter knocking down 7-8 field goal attempts for 17 points in the period. John Wall’s December tear continues as he scored 26 points to go along with 16 assists. Wall looked very confident in his jump shot tonight, particularly from long range where we went 3-4. Marcin Gortat had a very nice game too logging 14 points on 7-9 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds.
Third quarter explosion: Anything the Wizards did in the third quarter worked. The team scored 39 points on 16-23 shooting (70 percent) including 6-8 (75 percent) from three-point range. Otto was unconscious, Wall was hitting threes from Steph Curry’s range, defensive rotations were crisp, and the ball was swinging from side to side. This was by far the team’s best quarter of the season as they stretched the lead out to 21 at one point.
Fourth quarter collapse: The Wizards were an ice cold 3-16 to start the fourth quarter. You could tell that the team tightened up and doubt started creeping into their minds. Shots that were falling in the third quarter weren’t falling in the fourth. The defense was lagging often leaving Mavs shooters wide open. Wesley Matthews hit just one three-pointer in the fourth quarter but J.J. Barea knocked down four.
As great as the Wizards were scoring 39 in the third quarter; they gave up 39 in the fourth. This game had #SoWizards written all over it but Nowitzki couldn’t hit a three-pointer as time expired to send the game into overtime.