When the Mavericks made 16 three-point shots last year, it was because Wes Matthews was hot.
The Wizards didn't have the personnel required to defend the arc consistently and the opponent was just a better team at that time.
Fast forwards just more than a year. In their first meeting of this season, the 10-win Mavericks didn't need Matthews making 10 threes. He only made two. But the rest of his teammates converted 15 more in a 113-105 win Tuesday at American Airlines Center. For the first time in a long itme, Wizards coach Scott Brooks was beyond agitated by what he witnessed.
"We got outworked. I haven't said that a lot this year with our team," said Brooks. "They were moving the ball. We were hoping they would miss. Not doing a very good job of making them miss."
The Wizards (16-18) head back to Verizon Center on a two-game losing streak after a back-to-back set. They also had games on the table late that they could've/should've won at the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs but failed to execute to end regulation.
This region of the West hasn't been kind to Washington, now 3-12 on the road. They've yet to beat a team from the West there.
When they're playing well, the Wizards can score with anyone because of John Wall and Bradley Beal. But if their bench isn't productive, they have to be more connected defensively to make up the difference.
Dallas, which had 17 points from Devin Harris and 16 from Seth Curry off the bench, scored 43 points. It was similar to what Eric Gordon did en route to a season-high 31 points for the Houston Rockets in a 101-91 win vs. the Wizards on Monday.
Gordon made 6 of 12 threes in part because the Wizards lost containment. When Nene would swoop to the rim, they'd suck in to try to stop the 7-footer who has trouble finishing in traffic. That would open up Gordon at the arc for wide-open looks on the extra pass.
The game in Dallas wasn't much different.
"We were defending with no purpose. We were giving open looks from the three-point line. They made 17? They could've made 30," Brooks said. "Unacceptable how we played."
Beal had 25 points and had plenty of clean looks from deep as the Mavericks' defense was nothing to brag about either. But he didn't make his, going just 3-for-11 though his last make cut the deficit to 110-105 with 2:12 left. "We just showed spurts of playing solid defense, palying well. We couldn't get stops. We just keep shooting oursevles in the foot by our defensive efforts."
The Mavericks are the NBA's worst-scoring team, 95.6. The Miami Heat were in a similar position earlier this season and scored 114. The Orlando Magic, too, and they dropped in 124.
While the offensive explosiveness has been better than anyone could've expected, the defensive problems were unforseen. Brooks has emphasized that side of the ball since the first day of training camp, and with Markieff Morris instead of Jared Dudley as the starting power forward the Wizards have the capability of being better defensively. And better at rebounding. It hasn't happened.
"We felt like we could just beat them. We had a great situation, a great opportunity to come in and take advantage of it and we didn't," said Beal, who led an inspired effort at the end of the first half as the Wizards wiped out a 58-47 deficit with a 22-5 run. "We just didn't get stops when we needed to."