ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic had a tough night of it, facing off against the Uber-talented Luka Doncic Monday night at The Amway Center and walked away with a 130-124 loss.
Doncic, as the whole league knows is a one man wrecking crew, and scored 33 points with 10 rebounds and 9 assists, leading the Mavericks to their 17th win.
The Magic held up with the Mavs for a good portion of the first half, with the first half ending in a 61-58 score. The Magic played clean basketball, with only 2 turnovers that led to only three Dallas points.
Nikola Vucevic (29 points and 15 rebounds), and Evan Fournier (16 points) provided their usual scoring for the Magic, with Terrance Ross and Michal Carter-Williams both adding 18 points each. The Magic out-scored the Dallas starters, but the Mav’s bench put the work in, outscoring the Magic 50-37.
But according to Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford, scoring wasn’t the issues.
“We had too many mistakes, especially on the defensive side of the floor. Our side defense was off, we had blown coverages all over the place.” Said Clifford. “We worked on it all morning, and frankly I thought we should have done better.”
Evan Fournier left the game and headed into the locker room in the beginning of the third quarter. Clifford said it was some sort of groin injury, but he didn’t know all of the details.
Fournier did return to the game and checked back in to play. He was substituted back out of the game later in the fourth quarter.
Keep in mind, the Magic are still playing without Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, and Aaron Gordon.
The Mavericks managed to pull ahead by as much as 18 over the Magic later in the game, with Jalen Brunsen torching the Magic inside and outside during the third and fourth quarter.
The Magic managed to reduce the Dallas lead to five in the third quarter on a Vucevic 3-pointer with 3:26 left in the third quarter, with the quarter ending in a 95-86 score.
Dallas finished the game with 52% scoring and Doncic hitting 50% of his 3-point shots.
Clifford played Kem Birch instead of Mo Bamba, who was promised more minutes, because of Dallas’s strong pick-and-roll game, which Birch is excellent at defensing.
The Magic next face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday to close out the first half of their season. The Hawks announced on Monday that hey af fired head coach Lloyd Pierce, and Nate McMillan, formerly a head coach in Seattle, Portland and Indiana, will serve as the interim coach.