It wasn't a particularly strong win, but on the second night of a back-to-back, the Mavericks' balanced attack with six players in double figures and some clutch shots down the stretch was enough to beat a pesky Orlando Magic.
The first quarter saw the Mavs and Magic trading leads throughout the quarter. Despite a couple of early and pretty Dirk makes, the starters seemed to struggle against a Magic team moving well on both ends. But Orlando couldn't avoid turnovers, and with the Mavs pushing the pace and Calderon heating up, the Mavs finished the quarter strong with a 13-2 run to end up 31-24. Calderon led the Mavs' scoring attack with 7, and Dallas scored very well in transition, something that you like to see with a fast paced team.
The Mavs bench continued the fast pace in the second, with a number of steals and an incredibly balanced attack. In the first half, nine Mavs played and all of them scored. The second quarter saw key steals by Ellis and Crowder, six quick points for Mekel, who seems to be coming into his own a little bit. Orlando had a little run towards the end of the half, but Calderon had two very pretty assists for Blair baskets, and Dirk hit a fadeaway jumper to end the quarter strong, up 59-46. The Mavs had nine steals in the half and only two turnovers. In total, the Magic had 10 turnovers for 15 Mavs points in the half.
Orlando came out firing in the third quarter, with two fast scores. Though they had only two turnovers in the first half, the Mavs had three early in the third. The Mavs answered the Magic's scoring from time to time, but the Magic stayed pesky, getting the lead down to seven after three. The Mavs scored only 28 points in the quarter to the Magic's 34, and the fatigue of playing season high minutes in some players' cases was starting to show, though the good play in transition continued.
The fourth quarter saw the Magic continue to hang around, getting within four as the Mavs went stone cold shooting for much of the quarter. But the Mavs found some shooting, with that balanced attack again kicking in - clutch shots from Dirk, Marion, Blair and Ellis put the Mavs comfortably ahead in the final minutes for the win.
All in all, a nice win against a team the Mavs should have won against -- though the Magic's young team certainly gave them all they could handle towards the end of the game. As one of our commenters noted below, these were the types of "winnable" games the Mavs tended to find ways to lose last year, and I think we all are happy to see that trend mostly reverse itself in this young season thus far.
Discuss away, Mavs fans!