- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: The Mavericks built a lead with balanced scoring and had Monta Ellis get hot in time to put the game away.
Ellis scored 10 of his team-high-tying 19 points and had two of his seven assists in the fourth quarter. That included a spree of four jumpers in a span of a little less than three minutes, pushing the Mavs’ lead from five to 12 points in that span.
After going 3-of-10 from the floor through three quarters, Ellis made four of his six shots in the fourth.
The Mavs had plenty of scoring while Ellis struggled in the first 36 minutes. Dallas shot 48.8 percent from the floor for the game. Seven Mavs scored at least eight points, including five in double figures.
Dirk Nowitzki matched Ellis with 19 points on 8-of-19 shooting during a milestone night for him. Sixth man Vince Carter snapped out of a mini-slump with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Center Samuel Dalembert had a season high with 15 points, 11 of which came during his 4-of-4 first quarter.
The Mavs had trouble keeping up with the speedy Wizards in transition, allowing 28 fast-break points. But Washington struggled to score out of half-court sets. This marked the second consecutive game the Mavs held their opponent under 100 points after accomplishing that only once in the first six games.
What it means: The Mavs improved to 5-3 and remained undefeated (4-0) at the American Airlines Center. Dallas handled its business against the Wizards (2-5), a team with some young talent that is likely headed for another lottery berth. The Mavs have yet to have a surprising loss this season.
Play of the game: It was a possession, not a play, but a seven-point trip is certainly worth noting. The Mavs managed to turn a six-point deficit into a one-point lead in one possession during the fourth quarter. It started with Jae Crowder’s and-one drive. After he missed the free throw, DeJuan Blair grabbed the rebound and got fouled while making a 5-footer. His missed free throw was rebounded by Carter, who ended the Mavs’ marathon possession by knocking down a 3-pointer from the wing.
Stat of the night: Nowitzki now sits at No. 16 on the NBA’s scoring list, surpassing Hall of Famer Jerry West with a 3-pointer late in the third quarter. Nowitzki has 25,197 career points.