‘Wasn’t he an offensive player…?’ Washington’s unexpected defense

Washington is helping Dallas in an unexpected way.

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Houston Rockets 147-136 in the 2023-2024 NBA regular season on Monday night (Jan. 8) at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The win was Dallas’ third straight and solidified their hold on fifth place in the Western Conference.

Dallas’ recent surge has been remarkable. The Mavs have gone 9-1 in their last 10 games and are now all the way up to fifth place in the Western Conference. Sixth place in the conference is a playoff spot. The seventh-place finisher will advance to a 스포츠토토 single-elimination play-in tournament.

Dallas was a favorite to make the play-in tournament midway through the season. However, they rebounded with a tremendous run at the end of the season.

The biggest reason for this is the presence of arguably the best one-two punch in the NBA in Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. The duo leads Dallas on offense with their explosive offense. What makes them scary is their clutch play. They are two of the best technicians in the NBA and can easily score one-on-one in the clutch. Their offense can be fluid depending on how they’re feeling that day.

While Irving and Doncic lead the team on offense, the defense is led by new acquisition PJ Washington.

Dallas made two trades at the trade deadline this season. They sent Grant Williams and Seth Curry to the Charlotte Hornets for Washington, and they acquired Daniel Gafford from the Washington Wizards for Rashawn Holmes.

Both trades made sense for Dallas. Williams, an ambitious free agent signing, had been a disappointment in Dallas, and the Mavs were in need of a sizeable 4 forward.

Washington was the type of player Dallas wanted. Washington is a stretch forward who can shoot the 3-pointer to create spacing, and his athleticism allows him to play switch defense.

Washington was perceived as an offensive player while playing in Charlotte. When Dallas brought him in, they probably saw his offensive ability as well. But playing for a powerhouse team is different than playing for an underdog.

In Dallas, Washington is strictly a supporting role. He’s taking advantage of the offensive opportunities that Doncic and Irving create without overdoing it, and he’s doing the dirty work on defense. His contributions on defense are particularly impressive.

He is responsible for defending the perimeter by boxing out and battling, while also shutting down the opponent’s ace forward. He’s also adept at defending guards and switches.

Dallas acquired Dorian Finney-Smith in the trade for Irving last season. Finney-Smith was a key piece of the Dallas defense. Dallas has yet to find a replacement for Finney-Smith since the trade. However, the perfect replacement has emerged in Washington.

With a forward to back up Doncic and Irving on defense, Dallas’ court balance has improved dramatically. Steady play eliminated ups and downs.

With the arrival of Washington, Dallas found the final piece of the puzzle. It will be interesting to see how Dallas performs in the playoffs.

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