The Orlando Magic defeated the Dallas Mavericks 111-106 in a game where they held a lead of as much as 19 points at our point.
The Magic’s pattern as of late has been to step up and beat the better teams in the league, and to turn around and put up poor performances against teams that should not give them such a hard time.
In recent days, the Magic have lost to the Cavaliers and struggled against the Knicks, even with New York’s starters playing poorly.
Yet they defeated the mighty Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Tonight, another poor team in the Dallas Mavericks. Star forward Dirk Nowitzki is on a farewell tour of sorts as he hobbles up and down the court each night this season. Magic fans gave him a warm ovation when he checked into the game, and Dirk paid them back by showing them he still has it but scoring 15 points with 5 rebounds.
This year’s Phenom Luka Doncic did not disappoint, with 24 points and 8 rebounds.
The Magic really showed a lack of interest on the defensive end, and Dallas took advantage.
`(The Mavericks) got whatever they wanted the whole game, we were not interested in defense – especially when we got ahead – and it’s not how we have to play,’’ Clifford said. “It was, to me, one of the more disappointing (games) in terms of approach and intensity. You know, we got outplayed, but we just made more shots than they did. If (the Mavericks) shoot the ball the way they normally do, we would have lost tonight.’’
Orlando built a 10 point lead at the end of the first quarter, with solid play from Jonathan Issac’s 9 points. They even built the lead up to 13 points in the quarter. But it wasn’t a crisp quarter, or game at all. The Magic have done far better this season.
`We just played sloppy and (Clifford) expects more from us and we expect more from ourselves,’’ said Magic forward Aaron Gordon.
Despite tow days rest, the guys didn’t really play up to snuff. But since Dallas was missing shots, Orlando pulled through.
Another factor in the change is the team is that Magic guard Isaiah Briscoe was reported to have a torn meniscus and would not be available for the playoff push.
Jarian Grant was called into duty off the bench and had solid play with the second unit. Grant went 2 for 5 for 6 points and pinched in 4 assists of solid play.
Orlando now goes onto face 6 more teams with losing records. Orlando next plays Memphis (Sunday), Washington (Wednesday), Cleveland (Thursday), Atlanta (March 17), New Orleans (March 20) and Memphis again (March 22).
Hopefully the playoff push comes through mentally for the boys in blue.