Matchup: Washington Wizards (9-12) at Dallas Mavericks (13-10)
When: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. (TV: CSN+, CSNMidatlantic.com via NBC Sports Live Extra)
When last we met: The teams face off for the second time this week. Wesley Matthews scored 36 points and sank 10 of the Mavericks' 16 3-pointers in a 116-104 win.
Streaks: Win one, lose one in't just a common phrase, but Washington's current pattern. Starting with Toronto guard Cory Joseph's buzzer-beating 3-pointer on Nov. 28 and ending with Thursday's 109-103 setback against James Harden and the Rockets: L, W, L, W, L, W, L. Two of the wins have come on the road, which is where the Wizards will play their next four games...The Pelicans early struggles aren't going away. New Orleans has lost five of six games including 111-93 against the Boston Celtics.
Three things to watch
1. What's the deal with Beal?: The Wizards need a win badly in Dallas, but they really need some good news with their young wing guard's latest leg injury.
2. 3-point defense: Another game, another opposing team lighting up the night from long range. New Orleans set a franchise record with 16 3-pointers on 27 attempts in Friday's win. On the season, foes are shooting 40.3 percent from beyond the arc, worst in the NBA. Over the last five games, it's been even worse. How worse? How about 45.3 percent (59 of 130). The why requires a longer post, but Washington's scrambling efforts appear broken. Too often after an initial double-team the ball gets swung around where it ends in the hands of a player capable of sinking the long shots. Of course, Tyreke Evans is a career 28 percent 3-point shooter and he went 5 of 6 from New Orleans' win. Therefore, perhaps the issue is variance of defensive looks. Almost any NBA perimeter player can make 3's consistently if they get into rhythm and clearly teams feel comfortable shooting against the Wizards. The Mavericks, even with their tremendous performance in Washington, only ranks 25th with a 32.1 percent clip.
3. House of Horrors: The Wizards have lost not one, not two, not three, but 11 straight in Dallas. Some hope comes from the Mavericks side. Dallas, 5-4 at home this season, has dropped two straight at American Airlines Center.