Mavs, Wizards face off heading in different directions

The Dallas Mavericks go for their fifth straight win when they host the slumping Washington Wizards on Monday.

The game also features new Mavericks center Daniel Gafford playing against the team that traded him to Dallas last week.

Gafford had an auspicious debut for Dallas, scoring 19 points and pulling down nine rebounds in just 17 minutes of the Mavericks’ 146-111 rout of the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

“It just felt good stepping on the court and hearing the crowd and hearing the cheers,” said Gafford, who was 7 of 11 from the field. “It kind of fueled the energy that I had throughout the game.”

Fellow newcomer P.J. Washington, a power forward acquired from the Hornets, added 14 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes.

“They were great. Offensively and defensively, they didn’t seem nervous,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said of Gafford and Washington. “We set a franchise record for 47 points in the first (quarter), and that let everybody know that everybody is comfortable and excited about having those two as a part of the team.”

Luka Doncic led Dallas with 32 points, eight rebounds and nine assists while Kyrie Irving contributed 25 points, six rebounds and eight assists as Dallas cruised past a Thunder team that entered the game with the third-best record in the NBA.

The Mavericks now face the Wizards and San Antonio Spurs before ending a four-game homestand against the Phoenix Suns after the All-Star break.

The Wizards open a four-game road trip after falling 119-113 to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday for their sixth straight loss.

After dropping a four-point decision to the NBA-leading Boston Celtics on Friday, Washington challenged the struggling 76ers. The Wizards, who trailed by 15 points in the third quarter, rallied to within two points midway through the fourth before faltering late.

Philadelphia finished with 74 points in the paint, while Washington had 54.

“They were driving by us, and it built their confidence. And by the time we kind of snapped into gear and changed our attitude, it was a little too late,” Wizards forward Corey Kispert said.

Tyus Jones led Washington with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. Deni Avdija and Kyle Kuzma added 21 points apiece.

Avdija grabbed 13 rebounds and added five assists, giving him his second consecutive 20-point, 10-rebound game.

“I think Deni’s shown some tremendous growth here in the last six to eight games,” Wizards interim coach Brian Keefe said. “He’s playmaking, attacking. … I’m trusting him to make decisions with the ball and attack the rim. But what I like is his rebounding has been high the last few games. That’s what we need from him.”

The Wizards’ struggling defense will be tested by a Dallas team that is averaging 118.8 points per game, seventh best in the NBA. Washington’s defense is last in the league, allowing 123.9 points per game.

Doncic scored 26 points and had 10 assists when the visiting Mavericks beat the Wizards 130-117 in the teams’ first meeting of the season on Nov. 15. Irving sat out with a sprained left foot.