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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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