It was anyone's game heading into the fourth quarter, as the Dallas Mavericks had just a one-point lead at 83-82, but the Orlando Magic went scoreless for over five minutes as Dallas went on a 17-0 run late to put the game away in the 111-96 Mavericks' victory.
Even though the Magic lost against the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night, they were hoping to build on an impressive defensive effort in the second half, as they held the Bobcats to 42 points. Much to the Magic's dismay, they gave up as many points to Dallas in the first quarter as they did to Charlotte in the entire second half the previous night, with the Mavs shooting 64 percent along with their 42 points. The Magic did well themselves offensively in the first, scoring 30 points on 60 percent shooting. Arron Afflalo was very aggressive, scoring eight first-quarter points, but Elton Brand scored nine points off the bench to lead Dallas.
Orlando buckled down in the second quarter after its pitiful defensive effort in the first. It held Dallas to just 17 points on 24 percent shooting. After falling behind by as many as 16 points, Orlando came back to within six points at the half, trailing, 59-53. Afflalo lead the team with 12 points, and Brand had 15 points for the Mavericks.
The Magic took their first lead of the game with just under nine minutes remaining in the third, after a Nik Vucevic basket, and would build their lead to as much as 79-73 after a Gustavo Ayon reverse layup. Former Magic Vince Carter helped turn the game to the Mavericks' favor late in the third, as he had an alley-oop dunk, and then drilled two 3-pointers in a 1:18 span to help Dallas take an 83-82 lead going into the fourth.
The game was still close, as the Mavericks led, 94-90, with just over six minutes remaining. Orlando then went ice-cold, going scoreless for almost five minutes as Dallas went on the game-changing 17-0 run. Reserve forward Brandan Wright scored all 8 of his points during this run, and Carter hit another 3-pointer.
Jameer Nelson appeared to suffer a left leg injury with 4:49 remaining, and limped off to the bench, with Ish Smith replacing him for the rest of the game.
Shawn Marion and Brand led Dallas in scoring, each with 17 points. Dirk Nowitzki added 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Carter scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, and also added eight assists.
There were positives for the Magic despite the loss. Rookie Maurice Harkless scored a season-high 20 points along with eight rebounds, and Afflalo led the team with 21 points and seven assists. Andrew Nicholson, matched up against Nowitzki, scored 10 points with seven rebounds. Vucevic added a double-double of 16 points and 13 boards. Even though Nelson scored just six points, he added seven assists and four steals with just one turnover before his injury.
The Magic also tied a season-high in free throw attempts with 22. Amazingly, 19 of those attempts came in the first half alone. Unfortunately for the Magic, they made only 13 of the 22 free throws, while Dallas was a solid 16-of-18 from the charity stripe.
Orlando also had trouble, as usual, forcing turnovers, with the Mavericks turning the ball over only nine times. Dallas had a brilliant 32-to-9 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Perhaps J.J. Redick is feeling the stress of the trade deadline, as he had his second straight poor shooting game, going 3 of 12 and finished with 10 points, all in the first half. He is 7 for 26 shooting, including 1 for 12 on 3s, in his last two games.
Orlando travels to Memphis on Friday night.