The Dallas Mavericks have been at their best at home, allowing them to overcome early struggles on the road.
Given their success versus the Washington Wizards - as well as Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis' performances against them - they appear to have a good chance to remain undefeated on their home floor when they face Washington on Tuesday night.
Dallas (4-3), winner of six in a row and 17 of 22 matchups with the Wizards, has won all of its three home games while averaging 117.3 points. The Mavericks haven't been nearly as effective on the road, averaging 18.0 fewer points in four contests.
They earned their lone road victory Saturday, 91-83 over Milwaukee. Monta Ellis scored 18 against his former team while Nowitzki had 16, but they combined to go 0 for 6 on 3-point attempts.
The duo did hit 12 for 13 from the free-throw line.
"(Ellis) and Dirk are our two best players," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We expect a lot out of those guys every night."
Ellis has averaged 25.9 points and 53.1 percent shooting in his last nine games against Washington. Nowitzki, who needs 15 points to pass Jerry West for 16th on the all-time scoring list, is averaging 25.2 points against the Wizards for his career, his third-highest mark against any team.
The Wizards (2-4) hope Bradley Beal can stay hot, though his career-high 34 points didn't prevent a 106-105 overtime loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Washington was in control for most of the second half before blowing a 12-point fourth-quarter advantage, as Kevin Durant's 3-pointer with 13.6 seconds remaining forced overtime. John Wall missed a well-defended driving layup at the end of the extra period.
The Wizards, also 1-3 on the road, likely would have escaped with a regulation victory had they shot better from the free-throw line, where they were 13 of 26. They're one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the league at 68.4 percent, while Dallas is one of the best at 83.0.
"We played extremely well," coach Randy Wittman said. "I give Oklahoma City credit for coming back. They made shots. All we needed to do in the last couple minutes of regulation was make one shot and a couple of free throws and then the game would be over with. Making that run, our guys played their tails off tonight and came up short."
Beal, who hit 6 of 8 from 3-point range, eclipsed his previous career high of 29 points set two nights earlier in a win over Brooklyn. He experienced mixed results in two games against Dallas last season, scoring 22 in one contest while being held to eight in the other.
Averaging 105.0 points, Washington should provide a good test for a Mavericks club that was better defensively Saturday. Dallas allowed an average of 108.0 points and 47.0 percent from the field in its first six games before holding the Bucks to 38.3 percent.
The performance, however, came against a Milwaukee team that came in averaging 96.8 points.
Nene was ejected late in the fourth quarter against the Thunder after he and Russell Westbrook were involved in a shoving match, with the two earning double technicals for the second time.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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