December 30, 2014

Days removed from the experience, the Washington Wizards might still be having nightmares about Wesley Matthews knocking down one 3-pointer after another.

The defensively challenged Wizards get an opportunity to exorcise that demon Saturday night when they attempt to snap an 11-game losing streak against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center, though they'll have to do it without their second-leading scorer.

Matthews has been slowly working his way back after rupturing his Achilles in March, but he seemed to be feeling strong in the nation's capital last weekend.

The shooting guard scored 28 of his career high-tying 36 points in the second half, leading Dallas (13-10) to a 116-104 victory Sunday. He also hit eight of his career-high 10 3-pointers over the final two quarters.

''It's one of those nights where those same shots that I've been shooting and missing, they were falling,'' said Matthews, who has a career-worst 35.9 field-goal percentage.

Matthews has averaged 27.7 points while sinking 19 of 37 (51.4 percent) from beyond the arc in his last three meetings dating to his time with Portland. He had 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting in Wednesday's 98-95 home loss to Atlanta.

The Mavericks, 5-4 at home, shot a season-low 36.0 percent and 7 of 31 (22.6) from long range as their two-game winning streak came to an end. They'll try to avoid their first three-game home skid since dropping four straight in 2013-14.

"I think when teams go to road arenas and environments, it's kind of an us-against-them mentality," forward Chandler Parsons told the Mavericks' official website. "You know, we kind of embrace being the villain. We have to somehow transition that over to when we're playing here."

Matthews, who was the villain against the Wizards (9-12), has averaged 8.8 points while missing 31 of 35 from beyond the arc in his last five home games.

The Mavericks might be able to get better looks against a Washington team that has allowed an average of 108.2 points and a 49.7 field-goal percentage over its last six games. The Wizards couldn't hold a seven-point, fourth-quarter lead Friday when they opened a four-game trip with a 107-105 loss to New Orleans.

Washington, which ranks near the bottom of the league with 10.3 3-pointers allowed per game, let the Pelicans hit 16 of 27 from beyond the arc. It allowed Dallas to make 16 of 31 last weekend.

''We have to find a way to stop teams from making so many 3-pointers,'' guard Garrett Temple said.

The Mavericks have scored 104.1 per game while winning 11 straight in this series. Dirk Nowitzki had 19 points at Washington but was 1 for 8 on 3-pointers Wednesday and is scoring 14.0 per game over his last five at home.

The Wizards had a scare in the first meeting when John Wall had to be carried off the court after colliding with Jeremy Evans late in the game. He did not miss any time and is averaging 26.5 points on 55.8 percent shooting to go along with 10.3 assists over his last four games.

Washington is certainly thrilled that Wall didn't miss any games, but it won't be so fortunate with his backcourt mate. Bradley Beal sat out Friday with tightness in his right leg, and an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his lower fibula. Beal, who had 21 points against Dallas last weekend, will miss at least two weeks.

The Wizards, who were outrebounded 50-31 by the Mavericks, are already missing Kris Humphries, Nene, Drew Gooden and Alan Anderson.

You May Like