- Friday night will likely mark first-ballot Hall of Fame forward Dirk Nowitzki’s final stop in City Beautiful. Nowitzki, playing in his 21st NBA season, has averaged 21.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in 34 career games against the Magic. The 14-time All-Star has played in 1,504 career NBA games, averaging 20.9 points and 7.6 boards.
- “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” - Semisonic. Nowitzki may be making his last stop in Orlando, but Rookie of the Year favorite Luka Doncic is making his first trip to the Amway Center. Doncic is averaging 21.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.6 assists through his first 60 games in the NBA.
- The Magic, who have been wildly inconsistent coming out of the All-Star break, still sit just one game back of the Miami Heat for the eighth-seed in the Eastern Conference. Six of Orlando’s next eight games are at home.
|Offensive Rating: 108.6 (20th)||Offensive Rating: 107.4 (24th)|
|Defensive Rating: 110.3 (16th)||Defensive Rating: 108.3 (9th)|
|Pace: 99.3 (19th)||Pace: 98.1 (25th)|
|PG - Jalen Brunson||PG - D.J. Augustin|
|SG - Tim Hardaway Jr.||SG - Evan Fournier|
|G/F - Luka Doncic||F - Aaron Gordon|
|F - Dorian Finney-Smith||F - Jonathan Isaac|
|C - Dwight Powell||C - Nikola Vucevic|
“We’ll see. They’re going to meet and give him his options. We will know more as we go on.” ~ Coach Clifford on Isaiah Briscoe’s knee injury
“Greatness. He’s a totally different player than the guy we played against in Dallas. You can tell he’s so much more confident & comfortable w/ the NBA game.” ~ Coach Clifford on Luka Doncic
“You don’t want to throw around ‘greatness’, but he has a sense of the game. His decision-making, skill-level, combined w/ athleticism - even in this league, you don’t see it very often.” ~ Clifford on Doncic
“You want to talk about a guy who’s unique? He never had great foot speed, but just his skill-level and shot-making. You couldn’t guard him with one guy. He rarely drove by you...Incredible skill, use of pivot moves and fakes - there’s not been many guys like that.” ~ Clifford spoke glowingly pregame about Nowitzki’s ability to “read defenses (in his career), create spacing, and make shots.”
Check out our site’s Magic/Mavs preview here.
Feel free to follow us on Twitter at @OPPMagicBlog. Leave your pregame and in-game comments below. And as always - enjoy!