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Mavericks Use 19-0 Run, Dominating Fourth Quarter To Down Magic


The Magic continued a trend that they have kept up all season long – no lead is safe in any Magic game – for either team. Orlando had an 11-point lead with 3:35 to play in the third quarter, only to see the Mavericks go on a 19-0 run and hold the Magic to 16 fourth quarter points to earn a 95-85 victory. Dirk Nowitzki did not shoot the ball very well but still managed to lead the Mavericks with 23 points. Dwight Howard had an excellent game for the Magic, scoring 29 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking five shots.

Jameer Nelson got off to a quick start. He got to the rim for two early layups and helped the Magic make up for a couple of sloppy plays early. Dallas started the game hot and took a 19-14 lead. Immediately after that, Dwight Howard was fouled while trying to put back an offensive rebound. He made the first free throw and missed the second. Matt Barnes fought for the loose ball, collected the rebound and got the ball to Jameer Nelson who threw an alley-oop to Dwight Howard. Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis both hit three-pointers after that and the Magic ended the quarter on a 19-4 run to take 33-23 lead into the second quarter. Orlando did a better job of getting Dwight Howard the ball – he scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. In the quarter, Orlando shot 13-of-20 and held the Pistons to just 10-of-24 shooting. The Magic have virtually every statistical advantage over the Mavs in the first quarter.

The second quarter wasn’t pretty. The two teams combined to score 33 points with Dallas holding a 19-14 advantage. The Magic shot just 7-of-23 from the field and the Mavericks were only 8-of-22. Surprisingly, the Magic did not attempt a free throw in the second quarter. The first half of the quarter was fairly even with the two teams trading shots (well, mostly trading misses). The Mavericks were able to cut Orlando’s lead down to 45-42 using a 12-4 run but Vince Carter’s drive and dunk with 1.6 seconds left pushed the lead back to five as the first half came to a close. Dwight Howard led all scorers with 13 at the break.

Early in the third quarter, the Magic allowed the Mavericks to cut their lead back to two before using a 13-4 run to push the lead back to 11 at 69-58 with just 1:49 to go in the period. At the point, it looked like the Magic were ready to put the game away but has been the case all season long, they just couldn’t put a team away. The Mavericks used consecutive steals to end the quarter on a 7-0 run capped by Jason Terry’s three-pointer with 24.9 seconds to go, cutting Orlando’s lead to 69-65. The Magic only shot 9-of-21 in the quarter and still couldn’t get to the free throw line, attempting just two.

The Mavericks scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter to turn their 7-0 run into a 19-0 run that lasted from the 1:49 mark in the third quarter until the 8:45 mark in the fourth quarter. After that, the Magic were able to cut the lead to four on a few occasions but never got it any lower than that. The Magic managed just 16 points in the quarter on 7-of-23 shooting from the field. Orlando had some good looks but just couldn’t hit anything while the Mavericks shot the ball very well in the period, going 11-of-19 from the field. Jason Terry had 10 points in the quarter.


The second half was awful for the Magic. They scored just 38 points on 16-of-43 shooting (37.2%). Orlando was outrebounded 23-20 after holding a five rebound advantage in the first half.

The struggles weren’t due to a lack of effort – Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy thought his team played hard. Van Gundy told reporters, “I didn’t think it was a lack of effort. I thought we fought hard.”

Orlando got some good looks at the basket but their shots didn’t fall. “They made shots and we made none. We just made none,” said Van Gundy.

It wasn’t all because of poor shooting – the Mavericks played better defense in the second half. They decided to double-team Dwight Howard, but Howard had an excellent game. Howard got 19 shot attempts on Friday and he made the most of it, hitting 11 of those shots and scoring 29 points. Howard also continued to impress on the free throw line – he was 7-of-10 from the charity stripe. Howard also was his usual, dominate self on the defense, blocking five shots and altering several others. Dallas scored 36 points in the paint and shot just 50% on attempts in the paint.

Mavericks Forward Dirk Nowitzki thought that Dallas was able to slow Howard a bit by switching up the way they defended him.

“We mixed it up a little bit with Dwight in the second half,” said Nowitzki. “Sometimes we came on him with the dribble and sometimes we didn’t. We did a good job of mixing that up. I thought we really stepped out on their shooters.”

Giving Howard help was a problem all night. Orlando’s perimeter shooters were just abysmal, shooting 4-of-25 from beyond the arc. Van Gundy did not have a huge problem with the shot selection and thought the Magic missed a lot of good looks.

“Every one MP took, he was 0-for-5 and they were all wide open. Ryan was 0-for-3 and they were all wide open and he passed up a couple. J.J.’s was wide open. I don’t remember J-Will’s to be honest, Van Gundy told the media when asked about the shot selection. “Rashard, I think shot one contested on his 2-for-7. So, I can’t say off the top here I have anything I’m really upset about. We gotta put the ball in the basket.”

Orlando’s backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter played a pretty good game.

Nelson attacked the rim very well. He scored 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting, dished out six assists and had just two turnovers. Although Nelson played pretty well, he admitted that he wish he would have done things a little differently – Van Gundy thought Nelson took some tough shots in the paint.

Nelson’s legs look noticeably better for the second consecutive game – he was moving around better and just seemed to be quicker getting to the rim. When Vince Carter was asked about Nelson’s health, he responded, “It’s a miracle what a break will do for you. Time off. He had some time to just let his body relax and let some injuries heal.”

Carter didn’t have a bad game either. He scored 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting and dished out five assists but like Nelson, he missed some tough shots down the stretch. Van Gundy took notice, “Jameer and Vince, who both played well most of the game, I thought they took some tough ones in the paint.”

Orlando’s bench was nowhere to be found. The benched combined to shoot 3-of-19 and scored six points. Jason Williams, J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson were held scoreless.

Mavericks sixth man Jason Terry had 16 points off the bench, 10 of which came in the final period.

Orlando attacked the rim all night and had one of their best games scoring inside all season, putting up 52 points in the paint. Surprisingly, the Magic could not get to the foul line. They shot just 12 free throws, making nine. Van Gundy thought those numbers were odd. “I thought we attacked the rim tonight more than we probably have all year and we got to the free throw line less. I mean, that doesn’t sound logical, but think the numbers bear that down.”

There is some good that can be taken from this game – Orlando really did a good job of getting to the basket and Van Gundy was pleased with the team’s effort.

Effort has been a problem for the Magic at times this season but Van Gundy said that “he was not angry” and that he thought his players “tried very hard.”

Unfortunately, that didn’t translate into a win because, shooting-wise, it was just one of those nights.

Game Notes:

  • Dallas has 17 fast break points to Orlando’s six.
  • Dwight Howard had his league-leading 44th double-double.
  • It was just the 10th time since the 2004-05 season that the Magic have lost when Howard blocks five mor more shots.
  • Orlando’s 12 free throw attempts were a season-low.
  • Orlando shot 16.0% from downtown, also a season-low.

Next Up: The Magic will try to rebound against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have now lost two games in a row.

Final Thought: A very frustrating loss. The Magic must learn how to protect a lead.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here.)