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The Orlando Magic (13-21) have lost three straight heading into tonight’s matchup with the Dallas Mavericks (16-16). To avoid their fourth straight loss, the Magic will need to find some production from deep in their bench as they face a myriad of injuries. The most recent injury was to Cole Anthony, who was having a spectacular rookie season. Anthony is out with a rib injury, and will be for some time. He joins Markelle Fultz (knee – out for season) and Aaron Gordon (ankle – 4-6 weeks). James Ennis is also questionable with a calf injury.
The lack of depth hurt the Magic in their 124-108 loss to Utah. The Jazz outrebounded the Magic by 15, and scored 24 second-chance points, which was the difference in the game. Nikola Vucevic scored 34 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Evan Fournier scored 16 points, and Terrence Ross added 10 points.
The Mavericks, winners of three of their last four, defeated Brooklyn 115-98 on Friday night. The Nets were without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but still had James Harden available. Dallas held Brooklyn to just 34 second half points. Luka Doncic scored 27 points, and added six rebounds and seven assists. Kristaps Porzingis, in his first game back from injury, scored 18 points and blocked three shots.
Dallas won the first matchup between these two teams 112-98.Tim Hardaway, Jr. scored 36 points and had five rebounds, and Luka Doncic recorded a 20 point, 10 rebound, 10 assist triple double. Porzingis did not play in the first matchup. For Orlando, Vucevic scored 30 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Ross had 11 points and four rebounds.
Mavericks Happy To Have Porzingis Back
The Dallas Mavericks were excited to get their 7’3 Latvian wonder back from injury. At one point against a very small Brooklyn lineup, Kristaps Porzingis took 10 straight shots. He should have his hands full against the very physical Nikola Vucevic, but at least he should get to play this time as he missed the last matchup.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 28, 2021
The Mavericks are led by Luka Doncic, one of the top young talents in the game. Doncic has averaged 28.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg, and 9.0 apg while shooting 35.1% from beyond the arc. Tim Hardaway, Jr. has hit 39.2% of his three-point attempts while averaging 16.7 ppg and 3.1 rpg. Kristaps Porzingis has averaged 20.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, and 1.7 bpg this season.
Offensively, the Mavericks are 13th in the NBA in effective field goal percent (54.1%), 3rd in turnover percent (11.3%), 25th in offensive rebounding percent (19.2%), and eighth in free throws per field goal attempts (.207). Defensively, Dallas is 20th in opponent’s effective field goal percent (54.3%), 18th in opponent turnover percent (12.3%), 21st in defensive rebounding percent (77.1%), and 23rd in opponents free throws per field goal attempts (.208).
Magic Dealing With Yet Another Injury
Orlando has simply not been able to play with their full roster. Even with the loss of Fultz for the rest of the season, the Magic could have a formidable lineup if they could keep everyone else healthy. They got Evan Fournier and Michael Carter-Williams back, but lost Cole Anthony. Aaron Gordon has been out for an extended period as well. The result has been inconsistency all season long.
The trio of Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, and Terrence Ross now are tasked with carrying the team offensively until some depth pieces can be developed or added. With the trade deadline approaching, there is a chance Orlando could move some pieces as they build toward the future.
Vucevic has averaged 24.4 ppg, 11.6 rpg, and 3.6 apg, and has hit 41.0% of his three point attempts. Fournier averages 18.2 ppg, and has hit 35.5% of his three point shots. Terrence Ross is a 34.3% three point shooter who averages 15.1 ppg off the bench.
As a team, the Magic have an effective field goal percentage of 49.4%, 30th in the league. Orlando is 5th in the league in turnover percent (11.8%), 17th in offensive rebounding percent (22.3%) and 26th in free throws per field goal attempts (.171). Defensively, the Magic are 21st in the NBA in opponent’s effective field goal percent (54.6%), 19th in opponent turnover percentage (12.1), second in defensive rebound percent (79.9%), and sixth in opponent free throws per field goal attempts (.166).
- Dallas: Mavericks are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Dallas: Mavericks are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I can’t believe that I’m going to pick the Magic to cover, but I am. Is there a reason? Well, yes. Dallas has not been good against bad teams, especially ones that scored 100 points their previous game. I fully expect Dallas to win this one, but the game should be much closer than the last one. Vegas has even trended the spread down, which means we may be onto something. Anyway, Magic cover, but Dallas wins.
Want another opinion on this pick?
Full-Game Total Pick
If the offensively challenged Magic are going to cover, they are going to have to keep the score down. Considering that both teams have trended toward the UNDER recently, that may not be out of the question. This pick coincides with the full game pick. If you decide to go with Dallas, take the OVER. I’m going the other way, and taking the UNDER.