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Balanced Mavericks cruise past Wizards

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DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks expected a challenge from one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams Tuesday night. Instead, the Washington Wizards were quickly run out of the American Airlines Center in a 114-87 Dallas cakewalk.

The Mavs’ highly efficient offense didn’t get much from forward Dirk Nowitzki, but it continued to spread the wealth with six players scoring double figures, led by guard Monta Ellis with 20 points, in the team’s third consecutive victory.

Washington, coming off a big 104-103 win Monday night at Houston, couldn’t get anything going and was exceedingly sloppy with 23 turnovers.

Dallas, which committed just seven turnovers, swept the season series, winning 105-102 at Washington in November. The Mavs earned a 10th consecutive victory in the series with the Wizards, their longest winning streak against any team.

Shooting guard Bradley Beal, who scored 33 points in the win at Houston, missed nine of his first 11 shots and finished with 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting. Point guard John Wall had just 11 points and eight assists. He tied Chris Humphries as the team’s high scorer. To make matters worse, power forward Nene left the game in the third quarter after twisting his ankle.

By then, the game was long lost. The Mavs (23-10) blew it open with a sizzling, 36-21 second quarter, running the Wizards ragged with explosive runs to the basket and run-outs off nine Washington turnovers in the quarter that helped lead to 13 Dallas fastbreak points.

“I thought the key to the game was Ellis’ defense on Beal,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “Beal is a dynamic scorer, and he’s one of the real keys to their team. Monta really took the challenge from the beginning. (Beal) was 1-for-7 in the first half, which was the reason we had the lead.”

Against one of the top defensive teams in the league, Dallas made 13 of 20 shots in the second quarter, including all three of its 3-point attempts. Dallas was 5-for-5 from beyond the arc in the first half and led 63-45 at halftime.

“We knew they were on a back-to-back and it was a tough game (Monday) night against the Rockets,” Ellis said. “So that was the thing, keep the pressure on them, get the ball on them, get the ball moving and get a win.”

Meanwhile, the Mavs’ mostly porous defense this season continued to show improvement since the trade that acquired point guard Rajon Rondo, who recorded his 1,000th career steal in the game.

Washington (22-9) shot just 44.6 percent from the floor and was 4-for-12 from beyond the arc. Their awful shooting extending to the free-throw line, where they connected on just 17 of 27.

“They just beat us,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “In every phase of the game they were better than us tonight, and turnovers obviously being the biggest part — 33 to six in points off turnovers. Again, we tried to do too much individually. We got ourselves in trouble, and you can’t do it against a good team.”

After halftime, Washington never mustered a fight and fell behind by 25 points midway through the third quarter.

“We made a point of getting out of the locker room early to make sure we could go out and get ourselves loose and get ready to go,” Carlisle said. “Third quarters are big, especially when you have a lead, you want to continue the momentum.”

Forwards Chandler Parsons, Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva all scored 14 points for Dallas. Nowitzki finished with 13 on 2-of-8 shooting, and Rondo had 11 points and five assists.

The Wizards are likely to find out just how good they are during a brutal road trip that continues Friday at Oklahoma City and swings through San Antonio and New Orleans.

Dallas is off until Friday when Rondo makes his return to Boston to face his old team.

NOTES: Mavericks C Tyson Chandler returned to the starting lineup after missing Sunday’s win over Oklahoma City due to back spasms. … Dallas G Monta Ellis remained in the starting lineup despite twisting his ankle in Sunday’s game. … Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki needs 45 points to pass Moses Malone for No. 7 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. … Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he plans to help G Rajon Rondo improve his jump shot. Rondo entered Tuesday’s game shooting 41.2 percent overall and 28.2 percent from beyond the arc with Boston and Dallas. … Wizards F Martell Webster was active Monday at Houston for the first time this season. He underwent his third back surgery in four years six months ago. … Washington C DeJuan Blair returned to Dallas for the first time since leaving the team during the offseason in a sign-and-trade. He hasn’t found much playing time in Washington, logging just 53 minutes in 31 games. He scored nine points Tuesday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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