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2 observations after the Dallas Mavericks fall to the Orlando Magic, 94-87

The win streak stops at four

Dallas Mavericks v Orlando Magic Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Orlando Magic Wednesday evening, 94-87. Franz Wagner led a balanced attack, scoring 22 points and dishing six assists. Spencer Dinwiddie led Dallas with 29 points and five assists.

The second match of the Mavericks and Magic started early Wednesday afternoon due to hurricane Nicole. Defense was not on the agenda early for Dallas as Orlando scored 22 of their eventual 24 points in the paint. Turnovers were a problem for the Magic which helped keep Dallas in the game despite some rather dreadful shooting. After one the Mavericks found themselves up 28-24 despite shooting just 37% from the floor.

The Maverick bench unit continued a run started in the first quarter and quickly built up a double digit lead. However, poor interior defense continued to plague Dallas and Orlando ripped of a run which ate up most of the lead in a hurry. The Magic kept fighting but could not overtake the Dallas lead. The Mavericks committed no team fouls during the period and only two turnovers in the half, yet found themselves up by just four points, 54-50, at halftime.

Tremendously bad offensive basketball followed for Dallas in the third quarter. A continuation of lethargic looking offense along with plenty of misses on open looks resulted in an 20 point quarter. The Mavericks simply could not convert on the variety of Orlando turnovers. Orlando wasn’t much better, but chipped into the lead and trailed the Mavericks 74-73 entering the final twelve minutes of regulation.

Outside of Spencer Dinwiddie, the Mavericks were in real trouble on offense in the fourth quarter. Orlando finally took a one point lead at the 7:30 mark and slowly extended it as the Mavericks simply could not score. Once Luka Doncic returned at his usual point in the fourth, he also resumed what’s been his worst game of the season, forcing and missing shots. Orlando ended the Dallas win streak at four and the Mavericks fell 94-87.

Offensively challenged basketball

Scoring 87 points in a modern NBA basketball game is hard to do. Between the three point shot and how the rules of the game favor offensive players, scoring less than 100 points is difficult. The truly putrid performance on Wednesday evening was largely a team affair, outside of the efforts of Spencer Dinwiddie. While Luka Doncic had 24, it took 29 shots to get there, including 10 three point attempts of which he made a mere two.

Christian Wood being out is clearly a problem for Dallas, but Tim Hardaway Jr. and Bullock have to offer something (the two players shot a combined 2-of-13 for five points). Bullock in particular hasn’t scored the past two games! Josh Green needs to get more looks. Dorian Finney-Smith must take more shots as well.

While the Dallas Mavericks did not play a particularly good defensive game, it’s remarkable that Dallas turned 19 Orlando turnovers into just 10 points. Considering how many of the Orlando turnovers were of the live ball variety (Dallas had 14 steals), this is a failure to execute easy offense and finish breaks. That has to be remedied.

Spencer Dinwiddie, bouncing back

At least Spencer Dinwiddie played well.

After a challenged performance against the Brooklyn Nets where he shot 1-of-8 from the floor, Dinwiddie showed up big in a game where the Mavericks needed offense. His strong shooting from deep this season has been valuable as Bullock and Hardaway search for consistency from downtown. Add in his playmaking and driving ability, and he’s possibly Dallas’s second most valuable offensive player this season.

Oh, and he did this to start the fourth quarter. Killer use of a hesitation dribble.

So at least that part of the game was fun.

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