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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.

[RELATED: BREAKING DOWN PIERCE'S LEBRON-WIZARDS THEORY]

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime? 

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks in three-team deal, but not likely to stay

The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.

The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first-round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Philly and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.

That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.

Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.

Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden. 

Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.

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