Game On: Wizards-Mavericks preview

Game On: Wizards-Mavericks preview
January 1, 2014, 9:00 am
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Wizards not taking .500 record for granted

A victory will put the Wizards above .500 for the first time since 2008 and give them a split in the season series with the Mavericks. 

TV: Wizards Central pregame show on CSN at 5:30 p.m. ET; followed by tip-off from Verizon Center at 6 and Wizards Postgame Live immediately afterward. Radio: 1500 AM. 106.7 FM

Last game: Wizards (14-14) won at the Detroit Pistons 106-99 on Monday; Mavericks (18-13) won at the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-98 on Monday.

Last meeting: Dallas won 105-95 at American Airlines Center on Nov. 12 as Washington went to its then-unproductive bench and lost the lead quickly in the second quarter and never got it back. It was sparked by the infamous seven-points-in-one-possession sequences when the Mavericks made a layup and drew a foul, missed the free throw, got the offensive rebound for the putback and drew another foul. That foul shot was missed, too, but they retained the ball on the offensive rebound and that led to a three-pointer. 

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker, C Marcin Gortat. Mavericks –- PG Jose Calderon, SG Monta Ellis, SF Shawn Marion, PF Dirk Nowitzki, C Samuel Dalembert.

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Entry passes: 1). The Wizards had no answer for Ellis, who sealed the victory with eight points in a three-minute span.  2). This is the third game of a three-game road trip for Dallas which is 2-0. 3). Washington is averaging 105.2 points in the last six games, shooting 46.6% from three. 4). The bench continues to produce points with Martell Webster and Nene joining the second unit. 5). Otto Porter is coming off his best game as a pro, making 3 of 4 shots and helping key a comeback win. 

X-factors: Backup C Kevin Seraphin (right knee bruise) played his first game after missing the previous two in Monday's win vs. Detroit and practiced Tuesday. ... Rookie G Glen Rice (right wrist) no longer has a splint on his right shooting wrist after having outpatient surgery two weeks ago and took shots at practice. However, he's still not ready to return. ... Beal and Nene still are playing with time restrictions. 

He said it: “We didn't really move the ball as we have been lately. We weren't playing great defense at that time. We still had a chance to win that game. Then in the fourth quarter, the last five minutes, that's one of those games we didn't fight with that urgency down the stretch and let the game slip away." -- Wall on losing the first meeting in Dallas. 

Around the bend: The Wizards have a game every other day leading into back-to-backs on the road next week.