The Dallas Mavericks beat the Orlando Magic 131-129 in a wild, back-and-forth game Monday night.
Dallas plays in many “clutch” games as designated by the NBA — within five points during the final five minutes of the game. But this wild see-saw game against Orlando, surviving a fadeaway three-point attempt that was closer than it had any business being after a purposefully missed free throw... this had the excitement you expect when you think about what a clutch win looks like.
During Orlando’s huge first half, it was Jaden Hardy that kept Dallas connected with a big 18-point half. He finished with 20 points and seven assists. Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr took over down the stretch, scoring 45 and 36 points on the night, respectively.
4-for-20: Orlando’s third-quarter shooting
Orlando is the worst three-point shooting team in the league, but they sure didn’t look like it tonight in Dallas. They average 34% as a team, but after the first half, they had a 16-point lead, built with a 12-of-22 half from deep.
But in the third quarter, it all fell apart. After seven minutes of game time, they’d scored just six points. They shot just 2-of-6 from deep, much more in line with their season average, and managed just 12 points in the entire frame. By the time the buzzer sounded, Dallas had erased their entire lead and had a seven-point advantage heading to the fourth.
For nearly the entire game, both squads were enjoying scorching hot shooting, but for Orlando, it faltered for just a single quarter, and it cost them the game.
25%: Share of Dallas’ rebounds grabbed by Dereck Lively
Dallas is such a different team when Dereck Lively is available to match up down low against opposing bigs. Lively grabbed 11 of Dallas’ 44 total rebounds. Along with his 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting, it was his eighth double-double of the season.
Lively had some big impressive dunks, and his hustle in the fourth quarter to regain a Luka Doncic pass among two Orlando defenders ended with Lively getting his nose bloodied by an inadvertent elbow by the Magic’s Wendell Carter Jr. It earned Dallas free throws and the ball in a critical possession that gave the Mavs just enough juice to hold off the Magic’s comeback attempt.
43: Dallas’ free throw attempts
43 is the most free throws Dallas has attempted in any game so far this season. They shot them well, making 32 – good for 74.4% – and needed just about all of them in their two-point victory. Their previous high came in a win against Portland where they shot 41.
After swinging wildly all game, the Mavericks and the Magic were grinding it out in a fourth quarter that saw nine lead changes. It was a little unfortunate that a game that was so fiery offensively came down to a parade of free throws at the end, but Dallas can’t be turning up their nose at any wins at this point.
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