NBA

Wizards return home to face Mavericks

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards return home for Wednesday's matchup against the Dallas Mavericks coming off a loss. However, after what they accomplished during a five-game Western Conference road trip, there is no arguing against John Wall and crew feeling like winners.

With a chance for a franchise first 5-0 road trip, the Wizards (41-25) ran out of good fortune and made baskets in Monday's119-104 loss at the Minnesota Timberwolves. That snapped a five-game winning streak and dropped Washington back into third place, one-half game behind the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.

Washington's trip included sweeping sets of back-to-back games and comeback wins at Phoenix, Sacramento and Portland with the last two requiring overtime. The Wizards trailed the Trail Blazers by 21 points and nine with less than five minutes before rallying for a 125-124 victory Saturday.

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Minnesota also jumped ahead by 21 points, but Washington couldn't pull closer than five in the fourth quarter.

"We didn't have our best stuff offensively, we didn't have our best stuff defensively," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "Give them credit, they played well, they made a lot of shots and they moved the ball well. ... But overall a good trip for us, winning four out of five and five in seven nights in five different cities. It's going to be a nice day off (Tuesday), hopefully we come back and play a little better defensively against Dallas."

Washington gave up at least 113 points in all five games during the trip. Minnesota's Ricky Rubio was the latest guard to give Washington fits. He set a franchise record with 18 assists, including 10 in the first quarter for a 41-23 lead.

"We had chances, it was just one of those games where we cut it to six, they hit shots and we missed shots," said Wall, who scored 27 points on the same day he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. "But we'll live with the results, you know, we fought hard, we had great looks, we had opportunities to come back and try to make it a game. ... Shots didn't fall this time."

Dallas (28-38) can relate. The Mavericks shot 36.5 percent and only scored 32 points in the second half of Monday's 100-78 loss at the Toronto Raptors. Harrison Barnes scored 18 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 17, but the other three starters combined for 12 points on 4 of 20 shooting.

"We didn't shoot the ball well enough," Nowitzki said. "It's putting a lot of strain on the defense. Our defense just wasn't good enough."

The loss, Dallas' second in a row, dropped the Mavericks 3 1/2 games behind the Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot. Aside from the 38-year-old Nowitzki, the Mavericks are a young bunch, but coach Rick Carlisle did not view the 22-point loss as his team folding.

"I don't think so," Carlisle said. "The guys were really into it most of the game, then when it got to be 15 or 16 we were pretty much subbing at that point. It's a high-character group. I don't see that (getting discourage) being a problem. I know Dirk and Barnes are into it."

The Wizards are 25-7 since losing 113-105 at Dallas on Jan. 3 despite 27 points by Wall. That was the last time Washington dropped back-to-back games.