WASHINGTON • With only one win in their opening 11 games, the Dallas Mavericks decided they were done playing the role of patsy.
After recent flops at home, the Washington Wizards claimed they were focused on tightening up their defence. Turned out the underdogs reached their goal.
Harrison Barnes scored 31 points as the Mavericks, who have the National Basketball Association's (NBA) worst record, upset the Wizards 113-99 on Tuesday night.
Dennis Smith Jr had 22 points and Wesley Matthews 14 for the Mavericks (2-10), who had lost six games in a row and were winless in five previous road games.
John Wall had 23 points and 14 assists for the Wizards (5-5) in his return to the line-up. He sat out the 107-96 win at Toronto on Sunday after injuring his left shoulder on Friday in a home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bradley Beal also scored 23 points for the Wizards, who have lost 14 of their last 15 meetings with the Mavericks.
"We came into the game with a great collective force and collective will," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've been getting kicked around and it's no fun.
"Tonight, our guys drew a line in the sand and really brought things to another level defensively."
Washington shot only 42.7 per cent from the field against one of the league's worst defences and showed little resolve in their third consecutive home loss. The Wizards opened the season 3-0 but have lost five of their last seven.
Dallas ranked 28th in scoring with 97.9 points per game, which made their first-half production surprising.
"We tried to outscore people the last couple of games," Wall said. "We're not a team that can just outscore anybody. You have to be able to guard in this league, and we haven't done that at the beginning of this season."
Barnes sank 11 of 18 shots as Dallas hit 47.3 per cent of their field-goal attempts.
He said: "I guess they didn't think I was a good iso (isolation) scorer. I had to make them pay."
Dallas committed 12 turnovers, but the Wizards gave the ball away 15 times.
"We've been hurt in two major statistical areas - a lot of turnovers and not enough rebounds," Carlisle said. "Tonight, we kept the turnovers down. Then beating them on the boards 53-39. It tells the story."
Points Dallas scored above their per-game average of 97.9 in the win over Washington.
There was another upset in Sacramento, where the Kings - 1-8 going into the game - stunned Russell Westbrook's Oklahoma City Thunder 94-86.
Triple-double king Westbrook was restricted to 20 points by a determined Sacramento defence.
The Kings, meanwhile, shared the offensive load with four players making double figures, led by Buddy Hield with 21 points.
A scintillating 40-point masterclass by Giannis Antetokounmpo, 22, was not enough to stop LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers from claiming a thrilling victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Antetokounmpo's superb display, which also included nine rebounds and three assists, threatened to overwhelm the Cavs as they sought to bounce back from Sunday's shock loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
But the Cavs held on for a 124-119 victory at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena after 30 points from James and 32 points from Kevin Love.
Later, James admitted the Athens-born Antetokounmpo, nicknamed "The Greek Freak", was all but impossible to defend against.
"He attacked non-stop for however many minutes he was on the floor," James said. "You got to put multiple bodies in front of him and then when you do put multiple bodies in front of him, he's still able to score. He's great in transition and great getting at the rim."
Cleveland improved to 5-6 with the win, while the Bucks fell to 4-6.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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