Takeaway from Dallas Mavericks win over Magic: 2. Defensive woes continue
JaVale McGee returned after resting on Saturday night against the Thunder, but the team’s woes with him on the floor continued. He was scoreless in nine minutes of action and was a team-worst minus-12 on Sunday night. McGee has struggled to rebound and protect the rim, which is why the Mavs signed him this summer.
The Magic had 19 points in just over four minutes to start the game on Sunday night on their way to a 34-point opening quarter. Dallas needed 30 first-half points from Luka just to keep the game tied at 60 after 24 minutes. Orlando had just two healthy guards on Oct. 30, but they were still getting easy buckets inside and open looks from beyond the 3-point line.
The Mavericks turned to Dwight Powell to stabilize things, and the former Mavericks starting center made a positive impact for the second straight game.
Dallas advanced to the conference finals last season behind their defense. The Mavs were outstanding in the playoffs where they limited both the Jazz and Suns to some of their worst-scoring performances of the year. Can they find that defense again?
The personnel is different, and the Mavericks are still trying to get tied together on the defensive end of the floor. They were better in the second half, but can they carry that over to the next game?