Preview: Mavs start second-half sprint vs. lowly Magic
Preview: Magic (15-38) at Mavericks (23-29)
Mavs start second-half sprint vs. lowly Magic
DALLAS — Entering the second half of the season, the Dallas Mavericks sit just 4 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference standings.
Wednesday night, with the NBA’s second-worst team in town, the Mavericks (23-29) will try to inch even closer into playoff contention as they begin their 30-game sprint to the finish line.
Looking to replicate a 111-105 victory in Orlando back on Jan. 20, the Mavs also hope to send the Magic (15-38) along its way with yet another defeat, after the visiting squad fell at home for a 25th time of its last 28 games following Tuesday night’s 105-92 loss to league-worst Charlotte. In order to continue the Magic’s free fall, however, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says it’s imperative that his team gets off to a fast start, after Orlando jumped out to a double-digit lead in that January meeting before the visiting Dallas squad fought its way back for a much-needed road win.
“Well, we’re looking to get a good start,” Carlisle matter-of-factly said as the Mavs try to complete a five-game homestand with a 4-1 mark. “We got off to a very poor start the last time we played these guys. You know, we were down 18-4 and our concentration wasn’t good. We were making some mistakes and then we were fortunate to be able to get back into it. But, when you get yourself into a hole like that, it’s just not a healthy thing, so we want to get off to a much better start.
“This is one of those games where, you know, you’ve got to be tight and you’ve got to have it together. Their record isn’t good, but they’ve beaten some good teams. And so, you know, we’ve got to respect that and we’ve also got to respect the fact that they had us on our heels early the last time we played them.”
The Magic has dropped eight straight on the road overall, losing by an average of 16.2 points during that stretch. The Mavs have also won nine of the last 12 meetings between the two teams, but all three of Orlando’s wins came in the last three matchups in Dallas.
Meanwhile, despite their one-week layoff between games, the Mavs will try to continue the success from last Wednesday night’s 123-100 rout of Sacramento, when sixth man Vince Carter’s game-high 26 points off the bench and season-high six 3-pointers sparked the Dallas team into the All-Star break. And with Carter once again hoping to lead the charge one week after passing the legendary Larry Bird (21,791) for 29th on the all-time scoring list, the Mavs will try to finish the month of February with a flurry of wins to start their 30-game track before heading out away from home frequently during a road-heavy March.
“We know it’s 30 games. We know it’s important. We know each game is important. And after that you have to take one game at a time, because you can’t win games six, seven and eight if you don’t win the first one,” Carter said as he prepares to face his former team. “We have to take care of business. We can’t look past any game or any team. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter who we’re playing, because we have to win them. It has to be done. We have to find a way regardless of what our opponent’s jersey says.”
Note: The Mavs return to action Wednesday night at home against the Orlando Magic. The Mavs lead the season series between the two teams after a 111-105 win in Orlando back on Jan. 20. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
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