(ABC)–A peek at the NBA’s Southeast Division shows that Washington is off to a strong start, but look a bit closer and it’s tough to find an impressive victory on the Wizards’ resume.
That could change Wednesday night.
The Dallas Mavericks bring the league’s best offense to Verizon Center, where they’ll look to spoil Washington’s perfect home start with a fifth consecutive victory overall and ninth straight in this series.
Washington (7-2) is one of only three Eastern Conference teams with seven victories, but considering those wins have come against clubs with a collective .368 winning percentage, it’s still tough to gauge how good the Wizards are.
They might have a better idea by the end of the week. Washington hosts Cleveland on Friday, but first up is a visit from the Mavericks (8-3) and an offense that’s producing 109.3 points per game.
“They get up and down, and from a defensive standpoint we’re gonna have to be on our toes,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “There’s a lot of different weapons they have, a lot of different scenarios that pop out.
Whittman added, “They’re going to score. We’ve got to see if we can slow them down and disrupt what they want to do. It’s going to be a tall task for us.”
The Wizards might get Bradley Beal back later this week — he returned to practice Monday — but for now their depth is coming up big as well.
Washington’s bench has outscored the opposition’s 172-96 over the last four games, with the reserves hitting 22 of 34 (64.7 percent) from the field in Saturday’s 98-93 win over Orlando.
Only John Wall has topped the 30-minute mark in the last two games as the Wizards have improved to 4-0 at home.
“When your second unit’s giving you 48 (points), you can give guys rest,” Wittman said. “If a group’s out there playing well, they’re going to stay out there.”
The Dallas bench outscored Washington’s 66-35 in last season’s two meetings, helping extend the Mavs’ series winning streak to eight despite Dirk Nowitzki’s 11-of-33 shooting.