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Magic 102, Mavericks 94: Orlando's fringe players carry it to first preseason win

A cast of camp invitees and otherwise unheralded players helped the Magic improve to 1-2 in preseason play.

Monta Ellis and Solomon Jones
Monta Ellis and Solomon Jones
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic picked up their first win of the preseason on Monday, topping the Dallas Mavericks by a 102-94 final. Orlando got the victory despite resting its starting backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo, whom coach Jacque Vaughn scratched so they could rest.

Victor Oladipo struggled with turnovers in his first NBA start--he committed five in 26 minutes--but he otherwise fared reasonably well, scoring 12 points and adding a game-best 11 rebounds. Second-year swingman Maurice Harkless led the team with 16 points, scoring nine of them in the third quarter to buoy an otherwise dire Orlando offense.

In a characteristically brilliant performance, Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points in 25 minutes for Dallas, while Monta Ellis added 16. None of the 13 other Mavs to take the floor cracked double-figure scoring.

Magic rookie Romero Osby hit a layup at the 10:42 mark of the fourth quarter to break a 75-all tie and put Orlando in the lead for good. Vaughn used the fourth quarter to evaluate the players on the fringes of his roster, including Osby, Solomon Jones and Mickell Gladness.

E'Twaun Moore, himself battling for regular-season playing time, nailed his third three-pointer of the game on Orlando's next possession. Camp invitee Manny Harris padded the lead to 12 with six free throws on the Magic's next three possessions. As Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, too, turned his attention to the end of his bench, it became clear that the Mavs wouldn't have the firepower to mount a comeback.

Orlando's camp unit took command late, but the game wasn't always so one-sided. Dallas roared back after falling behind, 30-10, in the game's opening 10 minutes by exploiting the Magic's poor free-throw shooting and ballhandling: in the second and third periods, Orlando committed 16 turnovers for 20 Mavs points, and shot just 5-of-10 from the foul line. All told, Orlando committed 28 turnovers for 31 points.

While the turnovers surely must rankle Vaughn, he should be pleased with his team's shooting and rebounding; when the Magic weren't kicking the ball away, they were putting it through the hoop (58.9 percent effective field-goal shooting) or off Dallas' backboard (41 defensive rebounds in 52 chances).

There appears to be serious competition for the Magic's final roster spot, if Rob Hennigan even elects to fill it. Gladness blocked six shots in 15 minutes, while Jones had 11 points and eight rebounds. Osby, for his part, had eight points and six rebounds.

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