Orlando Magic vs. Dallas Mavericks (March 1, 2021): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

The Dallas Mavericks broke the Orlando Magic's pick and roll defense to get open threes. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Dallas Mavericks broke the Orlando Magic's pick and roll defense to get open threes. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic look to bounce back yet again as they take on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks as the midpoint of the season approaches.

Orlando Magic (13-21) vs. Dallas Mavericks (16-16)


7 p.m./FOX Sports Florida




$13-$666 on StubHub

2021 Season Series:

Mavericks 112, Magic 98

in Dallas on Jan. 9; Tonight in Orlando

PaceOff. Rtg.Def. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR

OMD Prediction

The Dallas Mavericks have been brilliant and terrible throughout the year. No one questions Luka Doncic’s brilliance at this point. But like other teams with star players, the supporting cast is the difference between a team scrounging in the bottom of the playoffs and true contention. The Mavericks know they have a future MVP candidate in Doncic and they are missing a few pieces.

The Mavericks have been up and down all season long. The Orlando Magic are catching them at an up period after they blew out the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. Doncic is going to be the focus for the Magic. But it was Tim Hardaway Jr. that burned them in Dallas earlier in the year. The Orlando Magic played a good game Saturday against the Utah Jazz. But it is hard to tell if Orlando is building anything right now.

79. 106. 38. Prediction. 108

3 Keys To Watch

Watch the 3

In the Orlando Magic’s first meeting with the Dallas Mavericks, they gave up 20-for-40 shooting from beyond the arc, including 8 for 13 from Tim Hardaway Jr. That turned a relatively close game into a rout the Magic could not recover from. Granted, this was also one of the first games the Magic played without Markelle Fultz (and coming off a blowout loss to the Houston Rockets in the game before).

The Magic’s 3-point defense has been spotty this year. Teams are shooting 36.9-percent from deep against the Magic, the 17th-best in the league. The Utah Jazz hit 17 3-pointers in Saturday’s game and made better than 40-percent of them. It feels cliche to repeat it, but 3-point shooting is such a key factor in this game right now. But the Magic have to make 3-pointers to compete and they have to do a better job defending the line.

Player of the Month Candidates

Want to know why Nikola Vucevic is an All-Star? Just compare his February to Luka Doncic’s February. Vucevic is averaging 27.2 points per game, 12.7 rebounds per game and 3.8 assists per game while shooting a 54.7-percent effective field goal percentage and a 57.2-percent true shooting percentage with a usage rate better than 30-percent. Vucevic has been the picture of consistency and is pouring in incredible game after incredible game.

Doncic’s numbers in February are impressive too. He is averaging 30.3 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game and 8.3 assists per game while shooting a 56.7-percent effective field goal percentage and a 61.5-percent true shooting percentage. Yes, Doncic is probably a lot better as a player than Vucevic. This will be a true star battle between the two. And both are playing some of their best basketball right now.

The big trio

It is a broken record over the last two weeks. The Orlando Magic win when their three best playersEvan Fournier, Terrence Ross and Nikola Vucevic — score well and they lose when they struggle. At this point, the Magic can count on consistency from Vucevic every single night. He has rarely delivered a poor game by any standard this year. The wild cards remain Fournier and Ross.

In wins this year, Fournier and Ross average a combined 36.6 points per game with a 58.7-percent effective field goal percentage. In losses, the two combine for 28.8 points per game with a 43.0-percent effective field goal percentage. That difference is pretty stark. Fournier especially struggles more in losses.

Next. Mo Bamba needs time to make the most of his time. dark

With Aaron Gordon still out, these differences are only highlighted and the team is relying on these three even more.