The Mavericks head to Orlando to take on the Magic, whose fortunes have not only been less than stellar, they are 2-8 in their last 10 while the Mavs had won 4 straight before losing another squeaker in overtime to the team resting atop the NBA.
Much like the Mavericks, the Magic are a dramatically different team this year, having lost Dwight Howard after his tumultuous tenure there. After his success getting Stan Van Gundy fired, he still moved on and the Magic are now lead by Aaron Afflalo, considered a superb defensive players but also the Magic’s leading scorer at 17.5 ppg, joining 3 other players at 14.5 ppg or more. Nikola Vucevik puts up 11.6 ppg and grabs over 11 rebounds.
The Magic don’t score a lot (20th in the NBA) but don’t defend particularly well either (18th) so the record is not surprising. They have also been without Hedo Türkoğlu for most of the year.
The Mavericks have a good opportunity to continue working on fundamentals, as there is nothing “magic” to defeating Orlando – a simple game with good shot selection, aggressive defense and crashing the boards should be successful. If the Mavericks relax as they have against far too many teams earlier this year, they can’t win on momentum.