Denton's Dish: Wednesday's Recap vs. Mavs (Part 2)

By John Denton
February 20, 2013

``For me, it’s just annoying and I just want to play no matter what happens,’’ Redick said. ``No matter what happens, I just want to play and not have to deal with this. I’m thinking about getting a new phone number because people have been texting me crazy stuff all day. I probably should have just shut it off the last couple of days.

``But it just comes with the territory, I guess. But it’s for the birds,’’ Redick continued. ``Unfortunately for me I’ve had a couple of bad shooting nights the last couple of nights and would have liked to help my team a little more.’’

Rookie forward Maurice Harkless keyed Orlando’s surge in the third quarter and finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and 13 rebounds for his 31st double-double of the season.

Elton Brand and Shawn Marion led the Mavs with 17 points. Carter, an ex-Magic guard, had 14 points and four 3-pointers.

Thursday will signify the NBA’s trade deadline at 3 p.m. Magic GM Rob Hennigan and Assistant GM Scott Perry remained in Orlando to field calls from teams looking to deal for Magic players before the deadline.

Redick has become one of the NBA’s most talked-about players at the trade deadline because of his dramatic improvement, professionalism and expiring contract at the end of the season. As many as a half-dozen teams could be vying for Redick, and the Magic could also look to retain Redick because of its fondness of his work ethic and steady production on the floor.

Redick couldn’t say definitively on Wednesday night if he prefers to stay with the Magic or head to a contending team with a chance to play for a championship. He said his looming free agency could swing things.

``There are just too many variables to say that (he wants to stay in Orlando),’’ Redick said. ``In short, I wouldn’t be disappointed (to stay with the Magic). If I end up going to a team playing for a championship, if that were to happen … if any player was on one of the five or six teams with the worst records and they go to a contender, it’s not a bad thing. But if I were to stay here though, it would be great.’’

Nelson, Afflalo and Al Harrington have value around the league, but all three have said that they believe they will remain in Orlando through the end of this season.

The Magic will be off on Thursday before playing in Memphis on Friday and back at the Amway Center on Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then, after two days off, Orlando plays in Philadelphia on Tuesday and back at home against Sacramento on Wednesday, wrapping up a grueling stretch of six games in nine nights.

Down just six after the half following a furious run in the second quarter, Orlando used another 20-6 spurt in the third period to surge ahead by as much as six points. Harkless played some of his best basketball during that stretch, hitting a 3-pointer, tipping in a rebound and finishing around the rim with two thunderous dunks.

But Dallas flipped the momentum late in the third period when Mayo blocked the Redick layup off the glass and chased down the loose ball. The play ultimately resulted in a Carter lob dunk and a 3-pointer that awoke the sleepy crowd inside the American Airlines Center. Rather than being up 81-73 on the play, Dallas pulled within 79-78 following the sequence.

``It was a huge momentum shift there. JJ missed a layup that should have went in, then they get a dunk and a 3 and that was a huge shift because we had things going our way,’’ Harkless said. ``They got rolling again and got hot again and it was hard to stop them.’’

Dallas closed the game with a 21-8 run to coast to the victory. During that spurt, the Mavs scored 17 straight points from the 5:16 mark to the 1:10 point of the fourth quarter.

``I thought we definitely had control of the game because we were getting stops. The first quarter was terrible, but we locked in and played better defense in the second and third quarters,’’ Harkless said. ``But things just got away from us in the end.’’

The Magic trailed 59-53 at the half, but they missed an opportunity to be even closer following a stellar stretch of play in the second quarter. Once down 51-37 in the second quarter, Orlando used a 16-4 spurt that was highlighted with some gritty defense.

Rookie Andrew Nicholson stepped to the free throw in the final minute of the half with a chance to draw Orlando within two points of the lead, but he missed two free throws. Nowitzki made Orlando pay by drilling a jumper just before the half. It was a similar finish to the end of the first quarter when Orlando allowed Vince Carter to get free for an uncontested 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Bouncing back from a poor performance on Tuesday when he could have been understandably distracted by all of the trade talk, Redick contributed 10 points and two assists in the first half. Afflalo was also in attack mode early on, going at O.J. Mayo in the first half to the tune of 12 points.

Vaughn hoped that his team’s fiery halftime talk on Tuesday and its improved play in the second half against Charlotte would carry over to Wednesday in the form of improved defense. But for a second consecutive night, the Magic yielded a season-high in first-quarter points when Dallas jumped to an early 42-30 lead.

Afflalo was vocal on Tuesday about the team’s poor defensive rotations, and the Magic responded. But those problems resurfaced again on Wednesday in Dallas as the Mavs mostly did as they pleased and scored 59 points in the first half.

Orlando made a stellar 60 percent of its shots in the first quarter, but it was gashed by Dallas for 64 percent shooting and 11 fast-break points in the first 12 minutes alone.

``It was obvious that we were playing terrible defense in the first quarter, but we took it upon ourselves that we had to go out there and get stops,’’ said Harkless, who made nine of 15 shots and grabbed five of his eight rebounds on the offensive glass.


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