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Dallas Mavericks 111, Orlando Magic 108

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Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic dunks the ball
Orlando's Dwight Howard dunks for one of his nine field goals against Dallas on Monday night. Despite his 22 points, the Magic fell to the Mavericks, 111-108.
Photo by Glenn James, NBAE/Getty Images

The Magic mounted a furious fourth-quarter rally against the Mavericks in Dallas, but came up short in the end, falling by a final score of 111-108. Here's
the boxscore
.

Trailing by 3 with 7 seconds remaining, Keith Bogans nailed a long jumper from the left wing. Bogans and his Magic teammates began to celebrate, believing that Bogans shot the ball behind the three-point arc. However, official Dick Bavetta ruled Bogans had his toe on the line -- and television replays confirmed it -- meaning the Magic had merely cut the deficit to one, not tied the game as they originally thought. Jerry Stackhouse drilled two free throws for Dallas, Keyon Dooling's desperation heave at the buzzer rimmed off, and the Magic left Dallas winless for the 10th straight year.

This game was scary close, and both teams played well, which is why I am not too upset with this loss. Look at the efficiency numbers:

Team O Rtg eFG% TO Rate O Reb % FT Rate
Magic 123.9 .554 8.0 21.4 17.9
Mavericks 127.1 .550 9.2 22.2 28.8

The only real disparity in those numbers is free throw rate, and the foul line is where we lost the game. Dallas got there more often -- 25 attempts to our 20 -- and made the most of their opportunities -- making an astounding 23 of them. And that's really all we did wrong. Sure, the Mavs shot a ridiculously high 60% in the first half, they cooled off in the second, and the teams finished with nearly identical field goal percentages.

After a stretch of games in which we looked lethargic and lost to inferior opponents, we came out strong against a contending team on their home floor and hung with them down to the final buzzer. Either way, we lost, but we played well enough to win, and that's all I can ask for.

I'd like to single out the exceptional play of Hedo Turkoglu tonight. He scored 13 of his 26 points in the 4th quarter, going 5-of-5 from the field in the process. He also did a respectable job defending Dirk Nowitzki, the reigning MVP, down the stretch.

Speaking of MVPs, Dwight Howard, this season's prohibitive favorite, was held in check: Only 22 points and 13 rebounds on mortal 9-of-16 shooting. Dallas' Erick Dampier did a good job making Dwight miss shots, even though he got away with a few hacks along the way.

In all, we may not have won the game, but we did get back on track. If we play this well against Houston on Wednesday night, we'll leave the Toyota Center with a victory.