The Washington Wizards were not only shorthanded against the Dallas Mavericks, but also short. The lack of size hurt in several ways. It's possible big help could be available for Monday's meeting in Miami.
Kris Humphries is hopeful he will play against the Eastern Conference leading Heat. As he exited the locker room following Sunday's 116-104 loss to the Mavericks, the 6-foot-9 forward told CSNmidtantic.com "we're going to give it a try" when asked about possibly playing after sitting out the last two games with a sprained ankle.
Washington played its second straight game without its top four interior options. Small ball lineups downed Phoenix, but couldn't slow down Dallas.
John Wall's right leg injury suffered in the loss became the primary medical concern for the shorthanded Wizards, but hardly the only issue.
Forward Drew Gooden, who missed his ninth straight game Sunday, is not expected to face the Heat. Washington initially listed Humphries and Gooden as "questionable" against Dallas before ruling both out shortly before tipoff. The "questionable" indicates improvement, but asked if he would be able to play against Miami, Gooden shook his head no. "Out" he said as he left the locker room. The 34-year-old has dealt with a variety of injuries, most recently right calf strain.
Nene will miss his sixth consecutive game with a strained left calf. The Brazilian big man was not expected to travel with the team to Miami.
Starting center Marcin Gortat remains away from the team while dealing with a family matter in his native Poland. It's possible he could return before Wednesday's home game against Houston.
Wall left in the final minutes after banging knees with Dallas forward Jeremy Evans. The two-time All-Star could play through the pain Monday. There are also big picture considerations. Despite having lost six of eight games, another 64 remain on the Wizards' schedule. Despite the struggles and 8-10 record, Washington remains competitive in the tightly packed Eastern Conference.
Regardless, the Wizards need some help up front. Washington was decisively outrebounded by Dallas 50-31. There were also defensive issues against 7-footer Dirk Nowitzki because of the small ball lineups. That led to breakdowns on the perimeter. Guard Wesley Matthews made 10 3-pointers and the Mavericks hit 16 of 31.
"Yeah, I wish I was a couple of inches taller," 6-foot-4 guard Bradley Beal cracked when asked about the limited size available. "We all wish we were taller...At the end of the day, it's not about height but heart. We have to have more heart than we had tonight."
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