Too bad the Dallas Mavericks can’t spend the night in a hotel the night before a home game.
Anything would help to change the bad vibes that have plagued the Mavs at American Airlines Center.
Otto Porter Jr. scored a career-high 28 points and the Washington Wizards finally recorded a victory over the Mavs, winning 114-111 on Saturday night at AAC. It was the Mavs’ third straight loss at home and dropped their record in their back yard to 5-5.
Meanwhile, the Wizards (10-12) snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Mavs (13-11). It was the longest active winning streak the Mavs had against one team.
All that went up in flames when the Wizards stretched a 51-50 halftime lead to as much as 21 points in the third quarter. The Mavs, though, battled back and closed to within 112-111 on a pair of J.J. Barea free throws with 4.4 seconds left after he was intentionally fouled near midcourt by Jared Dudley.
John Wall (26 points, season-high 16 assists) made two free throws for Washington with 3.7 seconds left. Following a Dallas timeout, a contested 3-pointer by Dirk Nowitzki as time expired grazed the front of the rim.
The Mavs hadn’t played since losing at home to Atlanta on Wednesday. The Wizards lost in New Orleans on Friday. But Washington appeared to be the fresher team on a night when the Mavs fell to 0-2 on this three-game home stand that ends Monday against Phoenix.
“They played better than us,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “They’re relatively young and they got a lot of skill guys out there and we allowed them to get into, really, an unbelievable shot-making groove.
“It’s a one-point game at halftime — it’s manageable. The third quarter was what did us in.”
In the third quarter alone, the Wizards made 16 of 23 shots, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range. Porter scored more points in the third quarter (17) than any of the Mavs players scored in the entire game, except for Wesley Matthews and Barea.
Ramon Sessions’ layup extended Washington’s lead to 90-69 with 2:12 remaining in the third period.
The Mavs hustled and matched the Wizards’ 39-point third quarter with 39 points of their own in the fourth period. But too much damage had been done for the Mavs to pull this one out.
“That fourth quarter is what we have to do and we know it’s in us,” said Matthews, who scored 28 points and hit 6 of 11 shots from beyond the arc. “We didn’t execute as well as we needed to defensively and they made us pay for it.
“Otto Porter Jr. came out and he was making shots. We were in our scheme, but we didn’t do it as well as we needed to.”
Mavs point guard Deron Williams missed the game with a stomach illness. But Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal missed his second consecutive game with a right leg injury.
Washington shot 51.8 percent from the field and made 14 of 29 buckets from beyond the 3-point arc. It seemed like whatever defense the Mavs tried in the third quarter, the Wizards had an answer for it.
“We got to keep grinding away,” Carlisle said. “Got to find ways to put us in stronger positions, get us some more edge, I think from an approach, attitude, standpoint to start the game.
“This league is not easy, and this is a difficult period we’re going through.”
Barea finished with 21 points, and also made good on 5 of 6 shots from behind the 3-point line. Also for Dallas, Zaza Pachulia (10 points, 12 rebounds) registered his 14th double-double of the season.
And guard Raymond Felton posted his second career triple-double as he finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. It was the first triple-double for a Mavs player since Jason Kidd had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists in a 101-93 win at Philadelphia on March 1, 2011.
The Mavs are 8-6 on the road this season, and just may be looking ahead to leaving AAC to expand their horizons away from home.
“I blame myself,” Carlisle said. “I’ve got to get these guys ready better, better prepared to play. We’re just not where we need to be.”
Mavericks vs. Suns
7:30 p.m. Monday, FSSW