The Washington Wizards continued their strange start to the season on Thursday night when they beat the Dallas Mavericks by a score of 113-105. Despite not having Bradley Beal on the floor, the Wizards managed to contain the Mavericks and their star guard Luka Doncic while also getting a spectacular outing from Kyle Kuzma on offense, and it ended up leading to a surprise victory over Dallas.
Kuzma offers an honest response on how the Wizards beat the Mavericks
Kuzma had a huge outing for the Wizards in this one, as he dropped 36 points while also snagging 11 rebounds and handing out six assists. Kuzma also played a role in slowing down Doncic, who had 22 points, nine rebounds, and six assists but shot 8/21 from the field and an ugly 3/9 from the free-throw line as well.
Slowing Doncic was a key piece of the Wizards' game plan here, and if you ask Kuzma, it was pretty easy to defend the Mavericks. Kuzma knows that the Mavs rely heavily on Doncic for offensive production and called out the rest of the team by saying that the rest of the team is limited outside of Doncic. If Doncic is held quiet, chances are Dallas will struggle, and that's exactly how the Wizards were able to win this game.
"We just did a good job. We know their team is very limited outside of him (Doncic). Obviously with Christian Wood out, the ball was gonna be in his hands the whole time."- Kyle Kuzma
Kuzma's shots at the Dallas Mavericks ring true
It was somewhat ironic to hear Kuzma's response here on a night when it was Spencer Dinwiddie, not Doncic, carrying the offense. With Doncic struggling, Dinwiddie picked up the slack by scoring 33 points and dishing out six assists. But Kuzma's point still stands; the offense will run through Doncic, and if you can limit him, the Mavericks are very beatable.
This should be a wake-up call for the Mavericks, as Kuzma's response highlights the game plan most teams are using to defend them right now. Doncic has been on fire to start the season, but the same can't be said for his teammates. Slowing down Doncic has to be the key defensive goal when playing Dallas, and it's becoming increasingly concerning to see teams having success doing this and beating the Mavericks.
Even on nights when Doncic is playing like the star he is, Dallas winning isn't a guarantee. The Mavericks have a solid supporting cast for Doncic, but without Jalen Brunson, who signed with the New York Knicks in free agency this past offseason, the offense hasn't been able to operate at its full capacity. Until someone else steps up on a more consistent basis to help out Doncic, the Mavericks will remain a very beatable team.