Preview: Mavs try to recapture their magic in Orlando after OT loss to OKC
Preview: Mavericks (17-24) at Magic (14-25)
Mavs try to recapture their magic in Orlando after OT loss to OKC
But, after watching their four-game winning streak come to an end with a 117-114 overtime loss to the NBA-best Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night, the Mavericks (17-24) flew to Orlando with plenty of confidence after their best stretch of the season concluded with a 3-1 homestand.
Rallying from 14 points down, the Mavs forced an extra period in front of their home crowd after leading scorer O.J. Mayo’s 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in regulation. Still, even with eight-time All-Star Vince Carter exploding for a season-high 29 points off the bench, the Mavericks wouldn’t have enough to counter three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant’s career-high 52 points to will his team to a victory.
“It’s unfortunate,” Carter said before returning home to face his former team. “I think as a unit we fought like heck to really give ourselves a chance to win. We were down at one point I think 12, cut it down to four or five and got the lead. That’s just us learning how to play together, persevering and we just have to keep going. It’s going to be bumps in the road. … The thing that I like is that we’re giving ourselves a chance to win against good teams. We’re getting ourselves into overtime games. Now, we just have to learn how to close it out.”
“We had a good fourth quarter, we just couldn’t close the game. That’s always going to be really challenging when you play a game against a team of that caliber, and look, it comes down to one play. You can take your pick of which play it is. It’s one play. So, hey, at the end of regulation, [Shawn] Marion made a great catch and a great pass and Mayo hit a great shot. That was a big-time moment in the game and our guys really rose to it. And then in overtime, we just couldn’t get over it. We couldn’t get over the hump,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added.
Attempting to win a seventh straight road contest in the all-time series between the two squads, the Mavs will try to avoid their first loss in Orlando since March 2006. That trend could continue Sunday, as the Magic enters the night having lost seven of the last eight at home while dropping six straight defeats at the hands of opponents with a losing record.
And with the Mavs still bitter over their lost to the Thunder, the lowly Orlando team could be just the ballclub to help the visiting squad begin a new streak in the right direction.
“I think we’ve improved tremendously and we’ve still got another gear to go to,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said. “We’re going to keep pushing, keep watching film and watching little things we can improve on. … We could be a pretty good team.”
Note: The Mavericks return to action Sunday evening in Orlando for their first of two meetings against the Magic this season. The game will air locally at 5 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.