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Magic offense sparks first preseason win


Jerome Miron/USA TODAY

The Magic were not known for their scoring last year. Really, they were not known for very much.

With young players though, offense usually comes before defense. Defense is an acquired taste that takes years of work. That part will come.

Right now though, the Magic want to get a more consistent offensive attack with their young players. With Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo receiving the night off, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless and Victor Oladipo took the reigns of the offense. For the first quarter, Jacque Vaughn could not have asked more. For the rest of the game, it is certainly good that it is still the preseason.

The Magic took a 30-10 lead in the first quarter behind strong play from the Magic's young players. They were breaking and getting out in the open floor, using their athleticism to create shots at the rim and scoring opportunities from the perimeter. Turnovers derailed that initial effort — 28 of them in the game — and made it a game again.

Manny Harris and Romero Osby led the charge in the beginning of the fourth quarter to give the Magic the lead for good in a 102-94 win over the Mavericks at American Airlines Center on Monday.

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Jacque Vaughn though likely will remember the turnovers. No matter what point of the year it is, 28 turnovers is a lot. Far too many.

The Magic are certainly still getting used to each other and playing Victor Oladipo at the point against the Mavs' first unit was going to lead to some mistakes. Still, 28. That is enough to make a coach lose sleep.

The Mavericks were not great offensively most of the night. They were very sloppy and could not get much going outside of their stars. Monta Ellis had his moments where he took over (not like last year) and Dirk Nowitzki was as undefendable as ever (24 points, 9/14 FGs). The turnovers kept Dallas in the game and helped the team erase the 20-point deficit.

The good news is the Magic withstood the rally and did not ever lose contact. They found a way to finish the game, something Kyle O'Quinn said the Magic were trying to do.

They did this because they kept on trying to get to the basket — sometimes ruinously, but that is OK for a young team like this.

Jerome Miron/USA TODAY

Maurice Harkless scored 16 points on 5-for-8 shooting. He got to the line for seven free throw attempts. Victor Oladipo 12 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in a growing trend of stat-stuffing performances from the Magic's rookie. Solomon Jones came off the bench and provided a nice spark wtih 12 points and eight rebounds. He showed a nice touch on his 15-foot jumper and was comfortable around the rim.

Orlando shot 52.1 percent from the floor and made 10 of 21 3-pointers. Orlando was able to get out on the break and get opportunities in the open court. This was an athletic Magic team looking to break. Orlando played a very solid offensive game. Except those turnovers.

That helped Dallas a ton. The Mavericks shot only 37.9 percent from the floor. Dallas got to the line for 27 free throws. It was not as bad as the Friday game against the Cavaliers. Orlando continued to improve.

Turnovers just cloud everything. It put a damper on the performance.

Fortunately, the Magic's veteran players were out. Their contributions would almost certainly settle the team down.

The win is nice and it showed how the Magic have improved. It gave the training camp invites a chance to play — and Romero Osby, Solomon Jones, Kris Joseph and Mickell Gladness each played pretty well.

Nearing the midway point though, it is time for the Magic to start executing and clean up some of these mistakes.