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Wizards fall short in Dallas, remain winless on season

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks' three-game losing streak ended Wednesday night.

The Washington Wizards' season-long skid continued.

Washington, the NBA's last remaining winless team, fell to 0-7 with a 107-101 loss at American Airlines Center.

The Detroit Pistons were 0-8 before earning a 94-76 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

The Wizards talked about being embarrassed after Tuesday's ugly loss to the Bobcats in Charlotte, yet for much of Wednesday's game they trailed by 18 points or more to a Dallas team that lacked injured forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.

Washington came to life early in the fourth quarter and sliced an 83-71 deficit to 90-87 with 6:26 to go, bolstered by hot shooting from the beyond the 3-point arc. However, Dallas' Chris Kaman and O.J. Mayo responded with consecutive baskets, and then Wizards guard Jordan Crawford was hit with a technical to lift Dallas' lead to 95-87 with 5:43 to play.

The Wizards kept pushing and got within 101-98 with less than minute to play, but Washington guard A.J. Price missed 3-pointer that would have tied the game. Mayo then hit one of two free throws, and Vince Carter grabbed the offensive rebound to seal the win.

"Hey, you want to fight. We fought," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "It's a learning process. We can't get down (in the game), but tonight we did fight back."

Dallas (5-4) avoided falling below .500 for the first time since starting last season 1-4.

"We're happy we won, so we take the positives of playing well for three quarters but we take the fourth quarter as a learning lesson," said Mavs forward Elton Brand, who finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds. "We've got to play harder and play more physical. We gave them a lot of easy looks, and we can't have that."

Wittman said his team didn't get much help from an officiating crew that gave Dallas a 33-11 advantage in free-throw attempts. The Mavs outscored Washington by 16 points at the line.

"For whatever reason, this team doesn't get any respect," Wittman said. "We go to the rim and had 11 free throws. These young guys just have to make a name for themselves, and it's just baffling some of the things that are said to me by the refs for why they don't call it. So, maybe we just have to send the game film every day to the league."

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle shook up his starting lineup, and Kaman responded to moving into the starting unit with stellar shooting. He went 10-for-12 for 23 points, and he added eight rebounds. Mayo scored a game-high 25 points.

"Kaman's scoring was terrific efficiency-wise," Carlisle said. "He had two turnovers, but that's not bad. It comes down to the same thing, we have to work and stop some rebounds. We had an advantage on the boards, but to close the game the way we did just doesn't feel good."

Jordan Crawford led the Wizards with 21 points off the bench. Point guard A.J. Price was the only Washington starter in double figures, finishing with 11 points. Rookie Bradley Beal, Washington's leading scorer on the season, finished with eight points on 3-of-14 shooting. Kevin Seraphin scored 16 points off the bench for Washington, and Cartier Martin added 14, hitting all four of his 3-point attempts to lead Washington's late charge.

The Wizards found themselves in a deep hole by halftime, 63-45, after being outscored 28-14 in the final 7:12 of the second quarter.

Coming off a horrible shooting game in a loss Tuesday night at Charlotte, Washington shot 42.2 percent in the first half against Dallas and made six of 15 shots from beyond the arc. However, the Wizards failed to pressure the Mavericks on the defensive end.

The Mavs, coming off their own embarrassing loss Monday at home to a depleted Minnesota squad, hit for 59.5 percent in the first half and scored 30 points in the paint, 10 on the fast break, to lead by as many as 19 points.

NOTES: The Wizards shot an impressive 13-for-27 (48.1 percent) from 3-point range. ... Wittman said there are still no timetables for the return of point guard John Wall (left knee), who had hoped to be back by the end of the month, and center Nene (plantar fasciitis). ... In addition to starting Kaman at center instead of Brandan Wright, Carlisle started small forward Dahntay Jones in place of rookie Jae Crowder. Jones scored two points in 15 minutes. ... Marion missed his fifth consecutive game with a sprained left knee, and Nowitzki missed his ninth consecutive game after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Oct. 19. The Mavs are hopeful Marion will join them on their two-game road trip that starts Friday at Indiana.
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