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Wizards lose tough one to Mavericks despite John Wall's return

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Wizards lose tough one to Mavericks despite John Wall's return

The Washington Wizards lost to the Dallas Mavericks 113-99 on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. Here's analysis of what went down...

Tough loss: It has become an early season trend and one the Wizards would like to put behind them very quickly. For the third time this season they were upset by an obviously inferior team. First the Lakers, then the Suns; on Tuesday, it was the Dallas Mavericks who beat them in a game they had no business winning.

The Mavericks (2-10) had the NBA's worst record entering Tuesday, but found their rhythm offensively from the opening tip. Rookie Dennis Smith, Jr. had nine points in the first quarter to help get them started. He finished with 22.

The Mavs had 36 points after the first quarter and 64 points at halftime, marking the fifth time this season the Wizards have allowed 60-plus points in a half. Dallas continued to pour it on with 30 points in the third quarter and begin the fourth with a 14-point lead.

The Wizards' offense managed 99 points despite shooting 42.7 percent, they just couldn't get stops and had particular trouble slowing Mavs' guards. J.J. Barea had 10 points in his first eight minutes. Wesley Matthews shot 4-for-7 from three and even Yogi Ferrell (eight points) had his moments.

Rebounding was also a major issue. The Wizards were outdone on the glass 53-39.

The Wizards have now lost five of their last seven games following a 3-0 start. Though they sit at a decent 5-5 after 10 games, much better than their 2-8 start last year, they are healthy now and this isn't supposed to be a tough stretch of their schedule.

Unfortunate streak: The Wizards have had a rough recent history against the Mavs. Tuesday was the ninth straight time the Wizards have lost to the Mavs at home. The last time they beat the Mavs in Washington was Jan. 21, 2008.

Things haven't been much better for the Wizards in Dallas, either. The Mavs have beaten the Wizards in 14 of their last 15 meetings and in 16 of their last 18. The two teams will see each other again on Jan. 22. If the Wizards don't win, they will be swept in the season series for the seventh time in eight tries.

Sure, the Mavs have had some good teams over the years, but so have the Wizards, especially recently. Dallas has their number and there is no obvious reason why.

Wall looked good: All eyes were on John Wall, who returned Tuesday following a one-game absence due to a sprained left shoulder. He had his shoulder taped up, but showed no signs of discomfort otherwise. That included after he fell on his left side several times in the first half. Each time he got up and trotted on like he wasn't hurt in the first place.

Wall turned in one of his best outings of the season so far offensively. He had 19 points and nine assists in the first half and shot 11-of-12 from the free throw line. That's after he went 5-of-16 in his previous two games.

Wall was in impressive rhythm passing the ball, consistently finding guys for open threes and Marcin Gortat for pick-and-roll opportunities. He looked like a veteran being guarded by inexperienced youngsters, which was exactly the case.

Wall, however, slowed down in the second half to end up with 23 points and 14 assists on the night. He ended up 13-for-18 from the charity stripe.

Smith got some burn: The Wizards' second unit had an unven night overall and in the third quarter head coach Scott Brooks looked far down his bench for a change. In came Jason Smith, who hadn't appeared in the last two games as a coach's decision. Smith provided some energy with two blocks and helped the Wizards gain ground on the Suns. He was on the court when they charged back to cut the Dallas lead to two with 9:09 left in the fourth. That, however, was as close as they would get.

Oubre keeps hitting from three: Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s shooting night overall wasn't good. He ended up 3-for-10 from the field with nine points and six rebounds. But all three of his shots were from downtown. He was 3-for-6 from the perimeter and is now 24-for-49 on the year. Small sample size, but 48.9 percent from three is quite good.

Up next: The Wizards are back in action on Thursday night with Lonzo Ball and the Lakers in town. L.A. took the first matchup between these teams, so the Wizards will be aiming for a split. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

The Washington Wizards lost the Charlotte Hornets 129-124 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center. Here's analysis of what went down...

Frustrating loss: The Wizards will not head into the Thanksgiving holiday a happy bunch. After an impressive road win at the Milwaukee Bucks, they let a winnable game slip away against the Hornets. They were up nine points with 3:32 left in the fourth, yet allowed the Hornets to force overtime and then dominate the extra period.

Defense was the problem for Washington. After holding opponents to 95 points or less in six of their last seven games, the Wizards gave up 129 points to an average offensive team. Yes, 15 of those points came in overtime, but the Wizards won't be happy with their defense after this one. They will probably regret the 53 bench points they gave up more than anything.

Beal, Wall heated up late: Neither John Wall or Bradley Beal had a rhythm in the first half, but both woke up later on for the Wizards. Wall had eight points in the first half, but on 3-for-11 shooting. Beal had seven points, but also on 3-for-11 from the field.

Stars can only be held in check for so long and Wall and Beal broke ultimately broke through. Wall had 11 points in the third quarter and Beal had seven. 

For a while it looked like Wall and Beal had taken the game over, but the Wizards couldn't take advantage despite Wall ending up with 31 points and 11 assists and Beal having 22 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Beal's night was highlighted by a series of dunks in the first half, including this one with two hands:

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Howard was a beast: The Wizards did a good job limiting Dwight Howard this past spring when they faced the Hawks in the playoffs, but they had no such luck on Wednesday in their first meeting with Howard's Hornets. Howard was dominant down low with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The Hornets did a good job feeding him in the post and when he has position there are little options beyond sending him to the free throw line. 

Marcin Gortat (eight points, 11 rebounds) is a good match for Howard on most nights. They know each other well as former teammates with the Orlando Magic. Gortat had a fine game, but Howard was at his best on Wednesday. He was coming off of a 25-point, 20-rebound performance and he kept it going against the Wizards.

Howard also blocked Beal's buzzer-beater at the end of regulation. Beal got the ball with two seconds left and tried driving to his left down the baseline. Howard read the move and swatted the ball out of bounds. Howard then had a big bucket with less than a minute to go. He had a putback on an airballed three that was a backbreaker for the Wizards, who needed a stop.

Meeks and Scott were a plus: The Wizards got a nice boost from their bench from Jodie Meeks (nine points) and Mike Scott (13 points), two guys who have proven this season to be instant offense when they're at their best. Scott came in and hit a three with a pair of midrange jumpers in the first half. Meeks was getting it down in the paint with floaters and layups on nice cuts to the basket. 

Scott hit three threes and is now shooting 44.8 percent for the season. It's only on 29 attempts, but that's not bad at all.

Lamb was a problem: The Wizards had a lot of trouble with Hornets reserve Jeremy Lamb, who has been Charlotte's most improved player so far this season. He was a force off the bench with 24 points in 37 minutes. Lamb has always had a lot of potential as a freak athlete with a sweet jumper. He may be starting to truly put it all together.

The Wizards even tried Kelly Oubre, Jr., one of their best defenders, on him. But Lamb kept getting buckets and added seven rebounds and five assists. 

Up next: The Wizards are off for Thanksgiving and Friday. They pick back up on Saturday with the Portland Trail Blazers in town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

[RELATED: MARKIEFF MORRIS STANDS UP FOR MEEK MILL]

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Markieff Morris stands up for rapper Meek Mill, was happy to see support in Philly

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Markieff Morris stands up for rapper Meek Mill, was happy to see support in Philly

Rap star Meek Mill going back to prison has affected many of his fans, Markieff Morris among them. The Washington Wizards forward is from Philadelphia, like Meek Mill, and loves his music.

Morris posted information for a rally to support Meek Mill earlier this month on his Instagram. Hundreds of fans showed up, including Sixers legend Julius Erving, Eagles players and Rick Ross.

The whole tri-state pull up and support!!

A post shared by KeefMorris5.0 (@keefmorris5.0) on

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Morris joined the Wizards Tipoff podcast this week to discuss a series of topics, including Meek Mill. Morris is upset about the situation, but was happy to see the support.

"The city was big. We needed that, man," he said. "For them people to come out, it was a great thing for us, man, to see the support that the city is really behind him 100 percent."

Morris defended Meek Mill's character and pointed to his charitable efforts.

"Meek does a lot of stuff that goes unseen in Philly. He's kind of like us when it comes to showing support for the city and doing stuff while not looking for cameras to be broadcast it that he's doing something nice. He just does it because he's a good person," Morris said.

Meek Mill is going back to prison for violating his probation numerous times over the past several years. He was sentenced to two to four years.

Morris also talked about his relationship with John Wall and Bradley Beal, why he loves playing with Mike Scott, why the Wizards are a tough team and many other subjects.

Listen to the full interview right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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