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Mavericks 87, Wizards 78

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Guard Monta Ellis scored 23 points and forward Vince Carter added 13 as the Dallas Mavericks finished off their perfect three-game road trip with an 87-78 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

The Mavericks (19-13) made 21 of 23 free throws while earning their fourth consecutive win overall and their eighth victory in a row over the Wizards.

Washington (14-15) led 61-59 entering the fourth quarter of the back-and-forth contest that featured 17 lead changes, including seven in the final period. Carter's 3-pointer and center Brandan Wright's hook shot put the Mavericks in front for good with 4:05 left. Ellis' jumper capped the 9-0 spurt, and Dallas led 79-74 with 2:14 remaining.

Forward Dirk Nowitzki failed to score in double figures for the first time this season, finishing with nine points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field. The Mavericks star limped off the court inside the first minute and briefly left the game. He returned later in the quarter after having his left ankle re-taped.

Guard Jose Calderon had 11 points, and Wright scored 10 for the Mavericks.

Washington point guard John Wall had 22 points, and forward Trevor Booker had 10 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.

Center Marcin Gortat had 12 points for the Wizards, and guard Bradley Beal scored 10.

The Wizards failed in their latest attempt to move above .500 for the first time since Oct. 31, 2009, when they were 2-1. Wall, who suffered a cut above his right eye in the first quarter, has never played with a winning record in the NBA during his four seasons.

Both teams struggled offensively, shooting under 40 percent from the field. Dallas matched its season-low point total after scoring at least 100 in eight straight games. Washington went 5-for-24 on 3-point attempts, and Dallas was 6-for-24.

Dallas closed the first period with a 22-9 spurt for a 25-20 lead before a crowd of 15,713.

Wall exited late in the first quarter but didn't stay out long. The speedster darted and spun around defenders in the second, scoring eight points in the quarter. His fast-break layup in the final seconds sent Washington into halftime leading 42-39 despite the Wizards shooting 1-for-11 from beyond the arc.

The Mavericks won the first meeting with the Wizards 105-95 in Dallas on Nov. 12. Washington's last win in the series came in Dallas on Oct. 27, 2009.

NOTES: The teams met in Washington on New Year's Day for the second consecutive season. ... Wizards C Marcin Gortat is in the final season of a five-year, $34 million contract that came about via an offer sheet from the Mavericks in 2009. Gortat never played in Dallas, as the Orland Magic matched the offer. ... Wizards rookie G Glen Rice Jr., , who turned 23 on Wednesday, had stitches removed from his surgically repaired right wrist Tuesday. Washington coach Randy Wittman said Rice would miss another one to three weeks. ... Dallas opens a three-game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, the same day Washington hosts the Toronto Raptors.
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