In an out-of-conference showdown in the 2020-21 NBA, the surging Dallas Mavericks will lock horns with the unpredictable Washington Wizards at the Capital One Arena on Saturday. The enticing fixture will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.
The visiting Dallas Mavericks have been on a roll, winning three straight games to climb to seventh place in the West, thanks to a 26-21 record on the season. Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards continue to struggle, as they have dropped seven of their last ten outings to remain in 12th spot in the East after going 17-30 on the season.
Dallas Mavericks vs Washington Wizards - Prediction
The Washington Wizards have displayed flashes of excellence but have largely been disappointing this season.
With Bradley Beal on the sidelines, the Wizards fell to the team with the worst record, Detroit Pistons, in their conference in their last matchup. Westbrook has been producing stellar triple-double outings but has not been able to convert them into enough wins for his side.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks have been on a tear, thanks to Luka Docic's exploits. The Slovenian is coming off a winning performance against the Knicks, where he tallied 26 points, eight rebound, and seven assists in 35 minutes from the floor.
Considering the form Doncic is in, the Dallas Mavericks are the favorites to win this game. On that note, let's take a look at a hypothetical combined 5 of the Dallas Mavericks and the Washington Wizards.
Dallas Mavericks vs Washington Wizards - Combined 5
Point Guard - Luka Doncic l Shooting Guard - Russell Westbrook l Small Forward - Bradley Beal l Power Forward - Rui Hachimura l Center - Kristaps Porzingis.
Both teams have star-caliber players, including two 2021 All-Star starters in Luka Doncic and Bradley Beal. This matchup has all the makings of a high-flying affair that could keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Luka Doncic features as the point guard in this hypothetical lineup. El Matador has been tearing up the competition of late, helping the Dallas Mavericks ascend to seventh in the Western Conference table.
Doncic is averaging a near triple-double this season, tallying 28.6 points, 8.9 assists and 8.1 rebounds in 42 appearances. He has been shooting at a lights-out 48.7% from the field and 37.6% from beyond the arc. Doncic is a frontrunner for the MVP award for his mind-blowing performances this campaign.
Meanwhile, Russel Westbrook will feature as the shooting guard in our hypothetical combined lineup. Like Doncic, Westbrook is also a triple-double machine.
After a shaky start to the season, Brodie is back on track, averaging a triple-double on the season. Despite his team struggling to keep their heads above water, Westbrook has proven his mettle as one of the greatest backcourt players in the league. This season, he is averaging an impressive 21.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 10.7 assists on 43.3% shooting from the field.
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal will slot in at the small forward position. Beal is having a career-best season this campaign. His outstanding performance earned him his third All-Star selection and his first as a starter.
Beal tallied a career-high 60 points against the Sixers in January, where he went 13 of 25 from the field in a 57.1% shooting display. In 41 games for the Washington Wizards this campaign, Beal has clocked a league-leading 31.3 points on 48.5% shooting from the field while also adding five rebounds and four assists per game.
Rui Hachimura, the 2019-20 All-Rookie, has expanded his role in the Washington Wizards squad since Thomas Bryant got sidelined with a season-ending injury.
The sophomore has shown a lot of promise with his high-energy plays at both ends of the court. He continues to raise his ceiling and could blossom into an elite frontline player in the future.
This season, Hachimura has featured as a starter in 40 games for the Washington Wizards. He is averaging 14.2 points on 47.9% shooting from the field. Besides his scoring, he has also collected 5.8 rebounds and dished out 1.6 assists per contest.
The 'Unicorn' Kristaps Porzingis will take up the center position in our hypothetical lineup. KP has elevated his game since returning to action from injury.
He has increased his production from the floor, and his partnership with Doncic is getting stronger with every passing game. Porzingis has played a key role in his team's three-game winning streak and could yet produce another top-tier outing against the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
In 31 appearances for the Dallas Mavericks, KP has averaged 20.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists on 47.4% shooting from the floor and 35.9% from the distance.