The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Washington Wizards 127-126 at the American Airlines Center on Tuesday despite 41 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists from Luka Doncic.
Doncic hit a fadeaway jumper to narrow the Dallas deficit to one point (126-125) with 36 seconds remaining, then poked the ball away for a steal on the ensuing possession.
Washington fouled Doncic in transition, but the 23-year-old superstar made just one of two free throws to leave the score tied at 126 with 12.5 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Doncic fouled Kyle Kuzma along the sideline, sending the Wizards’ forward to the foul line with 4.2 seconds remaining. Mavericks coach Jason Kidd challenged the call, but officials upheld the foul, and Kuzma hit the second of two free throws to set the final 127-126 score.
Dallas failed to get a shot off in the final seconds with a chance to win as former Maverick Delon Wright twice thwarted attempts.
First, Wright tipped the ball out of bounds after Spencer Dinwiddie’s inbound pass to Doncic. Then, with Doncic trying to pass out of a double-team, Wright stole a bounce pass intended for Dinwiddie to seal the Washington win.
WHAT TO KNOW
— Doncic’s 10th 40-plus-point game of the season — matching his total in the past two regular seasons combined — was not enough for the Mavericks to overcome the competition. This was the fourth time in the last seven games that the Mavericks have allowed at least 127 points.
— The defeat is Dallas’ seventh in its last nine games and eighth in its previous 11. It also is the Mavericks’ fourth straight loss to the Wizards, who completed a sweep of the two-game series between the teams for a second consecutive season after going 14 years without a sweep of Dallas.
— The Mavericks desperately needed the win against the Wizards (21-26), who are sitting well outside the playoff picture in 11th place in the East. Dallas (25-24) is now sixth in the loaded Western Conference but just two games ahead of 12th place.
— Making the loss even more painful was the absence of the Wizards’ second-leading scorer Kristaps Porzingis, whom the Mavericks traded to Washington last February for Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Porzingis was ruled out with a sprained ankle just one day before what would have been his first game back in Dallas.
— Between the second and third quarters, the Mavericks played a video tribute to the 7-foot-3 Latvian who never quite fit alongside Doncic. Porzingis received light applause from the AAC crowd and returned it while standing at the Wizards’ bench,
— Early in the third quarter, Doncic drew his 11th technical foul of the season — five from the NBA’s one-game suspension threshold. Kidd picked up his own techniques in the fourth.
BY THE NUMBERS
— Doncic tallied his 41 points by going 16 of 29 from the field but 0 of 4 from the three-point range. Dwight Powell was second in scoring for Dallas with 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting, while Dinwiddie added 20 points.
— Kuzma led Washington with 30 points, with Bradley Beal adding 22.
— The Mavericks had a more efficient night shooting the ball, making 52.8% of their shot attempts to 50.6% for the Wizards.
— The difference was at the foul line, where Washington connected on 32 of 41 attempts. Dallas went 22 of 26 from the charity stripe.
— While Kidd refused to call the Mavericks’ recent stretch a “funk,” Dinwiddie did not hold back on the team’s struggles.
“We should be able to stop them enough to where our 126 points beat their 125 or less. That’s really all it comes down to,” said Dinwiddie. “We’ve just got to be better in that respect. They’re (Wizards) not playing for nothing for real. They’re just coming out here firing. They’ve got people coming off the bench just firing because, at the end of the day, for them, it’s a showcase. They’re over there trying to get paid, but they aren’t trying to play winning basketball. For a team that has real aspirations and has an MVP, a team that went to the Conference Finals last year, we have to be better.”
— Dallas hits the road for a rematch of last season’s Western Conference semifinals against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.