- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks did what they should have done against a dreadful defensive team playing the butt end of a back-to-back.
The Mavs lit it up in efficient fashion.
Dallas had five players finish in double figures, led by Dirk Nowitzki with 27 points. The Mavs shot 50.6 percent from the floor against the Washington Wizards, who rank second-to-last in the league in scoring defense.
That was good enough for the Mavs to win comfortably despite a pretty poor defensive performance in the first half.
Nowitzki had a sweet shooting night, even by his standards, knocking down 10-of-14 shots from the floor, and the Mavs had two guards blow up off the bench. Jason Terry had 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting and Rodrigue Beaubois scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
The Wizards made a run to pull within three points in the third quarter, but that was as close as they came to threatening a Dallas team that was desperate for a win after a three-night, three-game losing streak last week.
What it means: The Mavs at least temporarily stopped the bleeding. Any win is a good win after losing seven of nine games in a brutal 12-day stretch coming out of the All-Star break. At 24-20, the Mavs are in a virtual tie with the Denver Nuggets for the sixth seed in the West, a half-game ahead of the Houston Rockets.
Bold play of the game: It was a give-and-go with some high-flying flair. Shawn Marion passed the ball to Jason Kidd on the wing, got a back pick from Dirk Nowitzki and slashed to the hoop to catch a lob from the future Hall of Fame point guard. Marion threw it down hard with one hard, part of an 8-0 Mavs run that extended their lead to double digits near the end of the second quarter.
Stat of the night: Marion moved into the top 100 scorers in NBA history with his 10-point performance, bumping Antoine Walker. Marion has 15,649 career points.