Looking to notch their second straight victory, the Orlando Magic welcomed the shorthanded Dallas Mavericks to the Amway Center. Despite being shorthanded, Dallas gave all the Magic all they could take, with Orlando ultimately winning, 95-87.
Much like Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, both teams got off to ice cold starts on the offensive end. With four rotational players, including two starters out for Dallas, their offense was bogged down, unable to get anything going against Orlando’s improving defense. Serge Ibaka, who’s been up-and-down all season, found his groove defensively, wrecking havoc in the paint to the tune of three blocks. Despite turning the ball over six times, and not shooting a free throw in the quarter, the Magic held the Mavericks to an opponent season low 18.2 percent shooting, allowing them to take a 17-16 lead into the second quarter.
After a poor first quarter offensively, both teams began finding more of a groove on that end of the floor. As that came for the Magic, their defense began to falter, allowing the Mavericks to shoot 10-18 in the quarter, including 5-8 from beyond the arc. While the Magic offense had their fair share of success —they shot 8-18 in the quarter, and took 11 free throws in the quarter— but their lack of ball movement hurt them at times, with the team finishing with three first half assists. At the half, the Magic trailed the sluggish Mavericks by one, 45-44.
Out of halftime, the Magic had their usual third quarter lapses, but were able to overcome them in spurts. Dallas continued shooting the ball extremely well from beyond the arc, knocking down five more triples in the quarter. They were also able to find success off of Magic miscues, turning six Magic turnovers into 10 points in the quarter. Orlando moved the ball at a much better rate in the third, notching assists on all but two of their baskets, but their inconsistencies defensively, along with turnovers allowed the Mavericks to take a three point lead, 69-66, into the final quarter.
Needing a boost on both ends, the Magic looked to their reserves to get them going. Behind continued high energy plays from Bismack Biyombo, and hot jump shooting from D.J. Augustin, the Magic were able to get some momentum going, taking the lead back early in the quarter. A highlight reel dunk from Jeff Green put the Magic up with eight with just over four minutes remaining, a lead that seemed insurmountable.
Dallas slowly answered, with a Wesley Matthews three cutting the lead down to four with just over two minutes remaining. Out of a timeout, Evan Fournier hit a clutch three, all but sealing the game for the Magic.
Augustin led the way for the Magic, finishing with 18 off the bench. Ibaka finished the night with 15-points and nine rebounds, with Biyombo adding 13-points and 10-rebounds of his own. Nikola Vucevic added a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double, with Evan Fournier rounding out Magic men in double figures with 11.
Recent signee Jonathan Gibson led all scorers, finishing with 26 off the bench for Dallas. Matthews and Seth Curry added 13 apiece, with Harrison Barnes finishing the night with 11.