WASHINGTON —The Dallas Mavericks have one of the best point guards in NBA history. The Washington Wizards have 21 losses in 25 games.
On a night when Jason Kidd took over the game in the fourth quarter, the Wizards again imploded in the fourth. Kidd had 11 assists—six in the game’s final 6:05 as Dallas sent Washington to its sixth straight loss, 97-86 Sunday night.
“The something that was going on was Jason Kidd,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “It was beautiful basketball to watch.”
Washington tied a 42-year-old franchise record for worst start—the 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets also started 4-21.
The win was Dallas’ 13th in 17, even though the Mavericks made only five of 30 3-pointers two nights after a 24-point loss at New Jersey.
Jason Terry scored 25 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 23. Kidd, who is averaging 9.3 points, missed all seven of his field goals and had just a single point, but as the Wizards languished in the fourth quarter for the fourth straight game, it was Kidd’s game.
Terry made two straight 3-pointers in the final seconds of the third quarter to give Dallas a 70-68 lead and Nowitzki sank three straight jumpers to start the fourth quarter.
After Caron Butler hit on a 3-point play and hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 81-76 with 6:22 to play, Terry made two field goals and Devean George a dunk — all assisted by Kidd for a 87-76 lead with 5:09 left.
“The greatest point guard in the world. The best who’s ever done it,” Terry said. “He can always impact the game even if he doesn’t score any points. He had so many assists. In the last four minutes of the game, he totally controlled the game.”
Kidd, whose welcome back to New Jersey on Friday night was one to forget, focused on working his team through their shaky start. At one point in the third quarter, they had missed 18 of 19 3-pointers.
“We were still in the ballgame. If we make some of those shots, it would be a different ballgame,” Kidd said. “We kept plugging away—getting stops on the defensive end. In the fourth quarter, we kept getting stops and getting baskets on the other end.”
Antawn Jamison led the Wizards with 22 points—all in the first three periods—Butler had 18 and Mike James 17.
“Most of our losses have come down the stretch and not communicating enough or playing team ball,” Jamison said. “Once again tonight it was the same scenario.”
Washington coach Ed Tapscott’s message after Friday’s loss to Philadelphia was to drive more and rely less on jump shots. Despite his pleas, the Wizards didn’t score on a layup until nearly 7 1/2 minutes were gone.
After a fourth consecutive fourth-quarter in which his team couldn’t score 20 points, the coach is trying to look for something—anything positive.
“Problems compound themselves. When you’ve got a bad streak going it’s almost like instead of finding the lucky penny, you find the slug,” Tapscott said. “We just have to work our way through it.”
In the early minutes, Josh Howard scored 10 straight for Dallas, but he had just seven more in the second and third quarters.