WASHINGTON -- If the Dallas Mavericks' New Year's resolution was to break their losing streak the first chance they got, then mission accomplished.
Utilizing a balanced attack, the Mavs turned the page to 2013 on Tuesday and snapped their six-game losing streak in the process with a 103-94 win over the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center.
For the Mavs, it mattered not that the victory came against a Wizards squad that's the worst team in the NBA. This organization needed a win -- against anybody -- in the worst possible way.
The Mavs (13-19) had lost nine of their past 10 games going into the New Year's Day game against the Wizards, but they scratched and clawed, put five players in double-figure scoring for the first time since February 2010 and left an NBA arena with a win for the first time since a 107-100 victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 18.
"It's been crazy not winning," said O.J. Mayo, who contributed 15 points, five assists and no turnovers for just the second time this season. "I think we all lose sleep; we're all a little stressed out and a little tensed."
Vince Carter set the tone for the business-like Mavs when, on their first possession, he knifed through the teeth of the Wizards' defense for a thunderous dunk. A few minutes later, Carter negotiated another hammer dunk that had the Mavs' reserves dancing on the bench.
Carter kept on attacking until he finished with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He even saw a little seam in the Wizards' defense and attacked the basket and delivered a vintage left-handed dunk that sealed the game and gave the Mavs a 101-92 lead with 1:11 remaining.
Coach Rick Carlisle was certainly pleased with his club, which entered Tuesday's game after suffering consecutive blowout losses at home to Denver and San Antonio.
"Any time you lose multiple games in a row, it's hell; it's painful," Carlisle said. "Getting out of it is tough, and the only way you can get out of it is to fight your way out of it, which we did tonight."
The Wizards had nine offensive rebounds in the first quarter while building a nine-point lead that eventually swelled to 37-23 less than three minutes into the second period. But with Darren Collison (15 points, eight assists) and Chris Kaman (12 points, seven rebounds and three blocks) playing solidly, the Mavs were able to climb within 52-48 at the half.
Shawn Marion then went on a 6-0 run as the Mavs bolted ahead 61-58 early in the third quarter.
"I was just trying to be active as much as I can," said Marion, who finished with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. "... You win and lose as a team, and I think everybody collectively did little things to help us win tonight."
With the Mavs playing at 6:30 tonight in Miami, they knew they could ill-afford to lose to a Wizards team that's in the NBA basement.
"We obviously talked about [snapping the losing streak] in practice [Monday]," said forward Dirk Nowitzki, who was sharp with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. "We had to let it all hang out and really treat this as a must-win.
"We obviously really wanted this one. The locker room was miserable, the coaches are miserable when you lose, so it was definitely one we wanted to get."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760