Dallas Mavericks woes continue as they fall to Magic in Orlando
By Arsal Hussain
The Dallas Mavericks ran their losing streak to four consecutive games by falling to the Magic in Orlando 111-106 on March 8.
The Dallas Mavericks just aren’t having their best week. They traveled to Orlando to face the Magic on Friday evening, but they were on the wrong end of a 111-106 result. The Mavs fell to 27-38. They have also lost fourth straight games. All four have come this week. It started with a 30-point domination by the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Magic’s starters caught fire on Friday. Their five combined for 74 of Orlando’s 111 points.
Terrence Ross was lethal off the bench. He had 22 points on six of 11 shooting from behind the arc. It seemed like every screen away from the ball had Ross waiting to pull up.
Magic All-Star Nikola Vucevic posted yet another double-double by producing 20 points and 13 rebounds. Vucevic is a free agent this summer, and the Mavs are reportedly interested in his services. He was making Dallas work in the paint. Vucevic created difficult matchups for Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri with Maxi Kleber out for a second straight game.
Here is a look at what stood out most for the Dallas Mavericks in their loss to the Magic.
Dirk playing five years younger
While the bench overall was inconsistent, the Dallas GOAT was not. Dirk Nowitzki posted up 15 points and five rebounds off the bench on 54 percent shooting from the field. He tied his season-high in points.
One thing is for certain, no matter where he is, Dirk continues to receive praise from opposing teams. As he started to come from off the bench, the crowd cheered loudly. Most believe this to be Nowitzki’s last season, but he had not guaranteed anything as of this writing.
With his 15 points, Nowitzki only needs 41 points to pass Wilt Chamberlain for sixth place in the NBA all-time scoring list. There are only 17 games left this season, so Dirk only needs to average 2.4 points per game to pass the Hall of Famer.
Rookie guards continues to light it up
Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson can be a very destructive rookie duo. The pair combined for 42 points in Orlando. Luka produced 24 points and eight rebounds. Brunson had 18 points and nine assists.
While the Mavericks should miss Dennis Smith Jr., seeing Brunson’s hard work is promising. He seems to be learning a lot from the veterans. J.J. Barea appears to be improving his playmaking skills, and Brunson is taking charges like Devin Harris.
Luka on the other hand, continues to dazzle. He now averages 21.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game for the season. Many argue that Trae Young is making a run for Rookie of the Year, but Doncic makes sure of to shut down those chances by giving his all in every game.
The empty hole at the five
Vucevic is often connected with the Dallas Mavericks because they have a red alert need for a center. Since the Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Mavs have struggled with rebounding and rim protection. It is not surprising after they traded DeAndre Jordan without bringing in a replacement.
Sure Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber are good, but what the Mavericks need is height. Tonight the Mavs gave up 11 offensive boards. That is quickly becoming a trend with their lack of big men.
Even when Kristaps makes his expected return in the 2019-20 season, the Mavs should still consider spending their cap space on players like Vucevic or even traditional centers like Jordan. Whoever it may be, the Mavericks need to consider filling that hole on their roster pronto.
The Dallas Mavericks head back home as they face the red hot Houston Rockets on Sunday evening. Keeping James Harden on lockdown will be a difficult task.