The limited success for the Washington Wizards this season has come on their home court. That may not matter with the NBA’s hottest team visiting the Verizon Center.
The Dallas Mavericks look for their fifth straight win overall and eighth in nine games on the road Saturday night when they face the Wizards for the final time this season.
Surging Dallas (41-16) has won 14 of 15 after a 118-99 victory Wednesday against Utah. Dirk Nowitzki(notes) led seven players in double figures with 23 points, but he’s been sporadic since missing nine games from Dec. 28-Jan. 14 with a sprained right knee. He averaged 24.1 points before the injury and 20.5 in 19 games since returning.
The Mavericks have had at least five double-figure scorers in 14 straight games.
“We were really making shots and sharing the ball,” Nowitzki said. “We had (seven) guys in double figures again, and that’s how we’ve been winning lately - sharing the ball, passing the ball, making shots.”
Stojakovic is averaging 15.5 points and shooting 54.5 percent (12 for 22) from 3-point range over his last four games.
“Peja’s one of the top five or six shooters all-time,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “If we can get him looks, there’s going to be a great chance he’ll knock them down.”
Nowitzki scored 24 points Jan. 31 in a 102-92 win against Washington in the most recent meeting, part of the Wizards’ latest dismal stretch in which they’ve lost 13 of 15.
Washington (15-42) dropped its fourth straight Friday, 121-113 at Miami, falling to 1-28 on the road. However, the Wizards hung tough with one of the league’s best teams and trailed only 63-61 at halftime.
Washington tied the game in the third quarter, but Nick Young(notes) twisted his ankle and had to leave to get re-taped. Young still finished with 38 points on 12 of 19 shooting, but the Heat pulled away with the Wizards’ leading scorer out nearly five minutes.
“If we fight like this the rest of the season, we are going to win some games,” Wall said.
Despite a respectable 14-14 home record, the Wizards have lost two straight and five of six at the Verizon Center and are ahead of just Cleveland in the East. They’ve struggled on the defensive end, allowing 111.7 points over their last six games.
Newly acquired Mike Bibby(notes) made his debut with Washington on Friday, going scoreless in nine minutes. The veteran guard, acquired Wednesday from Atlanta in a five-player trade involving guard Kirk Hinrich(notes), was brought in to help mentor Wall as the Wizards hope to build for the future during a lost season.
Dallas has won four of the last five meetings, including two straight in Washington.