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Mavericks vs. Magic final score: Dallas hangs on to beat Orlando 107-102

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Dallas avoids a scary comeback by Orlando to hold on for a win.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavs are fun again??

The start to this game was pretty awesome, am I right? Dallas started the game by hitting all of its first five shots while holding Orlando scoreless, starting on a 12-0 run. They cooled off a bit, mostly thanks to an inordinate amount of turnovers (7 in the first quarter). But this was the only real complaint I had, as the Mavs maintained a decent lead throughout, finishing the quarter up 31-23. Also RONDO DUNKED.

The turnover issue carried over into the second quarter a bit, but the Mavs stayed in control. While Charlie V was the first sub off the bench (with mixed results), Aminu entered the game in the second quarter and made some serious hay. Meanwhile, the offense just kept humming along regardless of who was playing. Monta was hitting shots, Dirk was hitting shots, Parsons was hitting shots, etc., etc. It was fun you guys. Orlando just looked overmatched, and Dallas shot 69 percent as it headed into halftime with a very comfortable 65-48 lead.

The Mavs continued dominating briefly into the third quarter before promptly getting sloppy and forcing Rick Carlisle to call an exasperated timeout after a 7-0 Orlando run. Unfortunately, the sloppiness continued after the timeout, until Dirk hit YET ANOTHER THREE-POINTER to settle things down for the boys in blue. But only for a minute, then Monta missed a shot, and Parsons missed a shot, and Tyson got called for a three-second violation. Fortunately, Aminu re-entered the game at this point, and good things started happening again. Crazy how that happens. Devin nailed a few threes, Dallas grabbed some turnovers, and the Mavs finished the quarter up by 16.

Things got a little too close for comfort in the fourth. Orlando stuck with it and narrowed Dallas's lead to 5 with a little over 4 minutes left. Then it was a 4-point lead with 2:30 left. Heroics by Dirk and Monta kept the Mavs from completely blowing it, but then Rondo committed the Mavs' 20th turnover with 1:38 left. AND CHANDLER PARSONS WAS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. I'm going to be honest guys, I was completely baffled by this. I get wanting Aminu in the game, but take Rondo or Monta out. Parsons has been hot lately. Then Rick called a substitution with under a minute left, but it was Devin for Rondo, and then Monta MISSED AGAIN. With Parsons sitting on the bench, I assume shaking his damn head. Fortunately, Orlando bailed Dallas out by missing a shot for the win and then fouling Devin Harris. Then Tyson got a block, Aminu got a couple of rebounds right when Dallas needed them, and while the Magic did everything they could, Dallas just barely held on to win this thing.

This game ended up being way closer than it should have been. And I have a bad taste in my mouth about how it ended, despite being really fun through most of the night. Welp. A win is a win.

Game Notes:

  • Is Dirk's three-point shot back? Dirk hit 5 of his 6 three-point attempts tonight, and it was glorious.
  • I am so happy to have Aminu back. I have little doubt that the Mavs would have totally blown this game without him. He finished the game with 7 points and 8 rebounds, 2 of which were HUGE defensive boards that the Mavs absolutely had to have in order to hold off a ridiculous Magic comeback tonight.
  • Other than the last half-quarter of the game, everyone looked pretty damn good tonight. In particular, Dirk and Monta look like they are getting back into peak form for a playoff run. While Monta pissed me off a bit in the second quarter, he had it going in the first. And Dirk. Holy shit did Dirk look like Dirk again. 25 points on 9-15 shooting. Missed you Dirk.
  • Rondo (mostly) continued his quality play with the following stat line: 9 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebounds. He got a little overzealous, but did a lot of good things, especially in the first half.
  • What the hell was going on with Parsons at the end of the game? I fully await hearing what Rick Carlisle says about this, because I cannot imagine any legitimate excuse for having arguably your best offensive weapon on the bench at the end of a suddenly close game. As I mentioned, I get wanting Aminu in there to get those key rebounds and play defense, but you need Parsons. Monta cooled off significantly in the second half, and I would have felt so much more comfortable having Parsons in the game rather than Monta.
This game was obviously way closer than it should have been, but ultimately, the Mavs came away with another win. Dallas is now a half-game ahead of the Clippers for the 5th seed, and continue playing (mostly) fun basketball. Can they keep it going?