Wizards

Big 3 help Spurs send Mavs to sixth straight loss

201212302006723876473-p2.jpeg

Big 3 help Spurs send Mavs to sixth straight loss

DALLAS (AP) Tony Parker had 21 points and nine assists, Manu Ginobili had several key baskets among his 20 points and the San Antonio Spurs handed the Dallas Mavericks their sixth straight loss, 111-86 on Sunday night.

Dirk Nowitzki had eight points on 3-of-9 shooting a week after making a surprise return in a 38-point loss to the Spurs in San Antonio.

The Spurs led all the way, with Tim Duncan helping a 20-6 start by hitting several jump shots. He finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

Darren Collison scored 18 points to lead the Mavericks, whose losing streak is their longest since January of their championship season in 2010-11.

Dallas was within five in the third quarter when Ginobili hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, and he made an even longer 3 with the shot clock inside a second to put San Antonio ahead 80-70. He finished the third quarter the same way he did the second - with a last-second shot that put the Spurs up by 12.

Nowitzki struggled again a week after making his season debut at San Antonio. It was his third game in four nights, and he was limited to 17 minutes Friday against Denver, the second of back-to-back games. He missed his first three shots of the second half before finally hitting a driving layup to get Dallas within six.

Ginobili keyed a late spurt in the first half that turned a five-point lead into a 12-point halftime edge. He assisted on a 3-pointer by Kawhi Leonard and scored the final two baskets of the half, the last a pull-up jumper with less than a second left for a 57-45 lead.

The Spurs ran out to a 20-6 lead on midrange jumpers from Tony Parker, who scored 10 in the first quarter, and a couple of 3-pointers from Danny Green, who had a career-high seven from long range against Dallas a week ago. Green finished with eight points and was 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.

The Mavericks closed the gap late in the first behind Elton Brand, who scored six in the first quarter after going scoreless for the second time this season two nights earlier against Denver. Brand scored 14 points in this one.

O.J. Mayo, Dallas' leading scorer, was held under 10 points for the fourth time in five games. He came in averaging 9 points on 33-percent shooting the previous four games and finished with eight on 4 of 14 shooting. Green blocked two of his 3-point attempts in the second half, including one after Mayo tried a pump fake that instead just gave Green enough time to get there before Mayo shot it.

NOTES: Mavericks F Vince Carter made his first start after coming off the bench the first 30 games. ... Spurs G Gary Neal missed his third straight game with a strained right calf. ... Mayo had a career-high five steals in Friday's loss to Denver. But he also had six turnovers for the third straight game. ... Green was 14 of 19 from 3-point range the previous three games. He was 7 of 8 when the Spurs set a franchise record with 20 3-pointers a week ago against Dallas. ... Oklahoma football players drew some boos when they were shown on the big board. The Sooners play Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on Jan. 4. Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M attended a Mavs game a few days after winning the award.

Quick Links

Real Marquee Matchup: Wizards face Jimmy Butler, Heat team that has set good example to follow

Real Marquee Matchup: Wizards face Jimmy Butler, Heat team that has set good example to follow

The 2019-20 season for the Wizards can be viewed as somewhat of a gap year, in that they hope their current organizational reset doesn't take long. It seems to be their goal to be back in the playoff mix next season with John Wall back and Bradley Beal operating through his prime.

Their best path towards doing that may look a lot like the team they face on Wednesday night, the Miami Heat (7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington). After missing the playoffs last season with a 39-43 record, the Heat are now 30-13 and second in the Eastern Conference.

The jump they have made is unusual, so don't focus too much on the standings. Instead look at how they have improved and how parallels could be drawn to the Wizards.
The Heat are led by Jimmy Butler, an All-Star wing who is a level above everyone else on their roster. The same could be said about Bradley Beal.

They have a point guard in Goran Dragic, who is still effective despite not being the 20-point scoring All-Star he used to be, now that he's lost a step. The way he plays could be a reasonable expectation for Wall as he works his way back to All-Star form coming off an Achilles injury.

Miami has assembled a deep and multidimensional roster around them. They have an ascending young frontcourt player in Bam Adebayo. Rui Hachimura could follow a similar trajectory, albeit as a different style of player.

Miami also has an array of shooters. Duncan Robinson was undrafted, then signed to a two-way contract. Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn are rookies. The Wizards have their own group of emerging perimeter threats in Davis Bertans, Garrison Mathews and Jordan McRae.

The way the Heat win is with an efficient offense that includes deadly-accurate outside shooting and a slightly above average defense. They rank seventh in offensive rating (111.7) and 13th in defensive rating (108.1). And they are second in the NBA in three-point percentage (37.6) and eighth in threes made (12.7/g).

The Wizards are, of course, nowhere near even average on defense. Their defensive rating is 30th in the NBA and they possess none of the traits that make the Heat the defensive team they are. Miami, for instance, is first in opponent three-point percentage (32.7) and also first in defensive rebounding (32.3).

The Wizards, though, do already check off some boxes on offense. They are 11th in offensive rating (110.7) and eighth in three-point percentage (36.5). 

The Wizards have a long way to go to reach Miami's level, but the Heat's approach in a macro sense could be worth following and especially once Wall returns. Though Butler is their clear-cut best player, he only attempts 13.4 shots per game, second-most on the team. Dragic, despite being a former All-Star, takes only 12.1 per game.

The Wizards have long done things differently. Back in 2016-17, when they had their best season in many years, Wall averaged 18.4 shots and Beal took 17.2 per game.

Despite taking fewer shots, Butler is still able to put up numbers. He is averaging 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. Combined with his defense, that is plenty to compete for the All-Star team and maybe even All-NBA honors. Meanwhile, he gets credit for being the face of a winning team.

The Heat have a roster that is a bit top-heavy that has been filled out nicely with unheralded moves and young players. That is how the Wizards' roster might be described a year from now. In order to make it work and win some games, they might want to pay attention to how Miami is doing it.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

'MLB The Show 20' features the 'Soto Shuffle' and iconic moments from Nationals' World Series season

'MLB The Show 20' features the 'Soto Shuffle' and iconic moments from Nationals' World Series season

One of the first things some Nationals fans noticed about PlayStation's trailer for the "MLB The Show 20," which was released Wednesday, was the inclusion of the "Soto Shuffle" after Juan Soto takes a ball.

Back in November one (possibly psychic?) Nationals fan tweeted his hope that the newest edition of the game would include Soto's iconic move at the plate, which the outfielder uses to psych-out opponents.

In Game 1 of the NLCS, Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas wasn't too happy with the "Soto Shuffle," but Soto never stopped the move.  

According to the preview, the new video game also includes a Trea Turner dugout dance party at Nationals Park and former National Anthony Rendon in his new Los Angeles Angels garb.

No word yet as to whether Gerardo Parra's "Baby Shark" or Adam Eaton and Howie Kendrick's "Clutch and Drive" made the cut. 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: