Mavericks-Magic Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 19, 2013
The Orlando Magic's last two victories have come against division leaders. They just haven't been able to get the job done against teams below .500. Orlando will try to avoid a seventh consecutive defeat to an opponent with a losing record when the Dallas Mavericks seek a seventh straight road win in this series Sunday night. After ending a 10-game skid with a 104-101 victory over the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 12, Orlando was routed 120-91 by league-worst Washington on Monday. The Magic (14-25) rebounded with one of their better performances of the season, a 97-86 victory over Central Division-leading Indiana on Wednesday, but they opened a stretch of five in a row against teams with losing records with a 106-100 loss to Charlotte on Friday. "We're just still maturing as a group on how to (play at a high level) night in and night out," said swingman Arron Afflalo, who scored a team-high 23 points. Orlando, loser of seven of eight at home, hasn't beaten the Mavericks there since March 2006. The Magic defeated Dallas 100-98 on March 30 in the teams' last meeting. Dallas (17-24) was hoping to arrive in Orlando on a five-game winning streak, but its longest run of the season ended with a 117-114 overtime loss to Oklahoma City on Friday. "The thing that I like is that we're giving ourselves a chance to win against good teams," former Magic player Vince Carter told the Mavericks' official website after finishing with a season-best 29 points. "We're getting ourselves into overtime games. Now, we just have to learn how to close it out." The Mavericks have dropped eight of nine OT games this season, but the fourth-quarter play of Dirk Nowitzki has been a positive sign. In eight contests since returning to the starting lineup, he's averaging a team-best 5.8 points in the fourth after scoring 12 of his 18 in the final 12 minutes of regulation against the Thunder. Nowitzki had 28 points and hit the go-ahead jumper with 5.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter as Dallas rallied from 15 down March 30. Defense continues to be an issue for Orlando, as nine of its last 11 opponents have scored at least 101 points. It will face a Dallas team that's averaged 110.6 points in the last five games. Six Mavs have scored in double figures in each of the last four games. The last five meetings between these teams at Orlando have been decided by 10 or fewer points.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Police recommend charges against LeSean McCoy

Heat interested in Kings’ 3-point specialist Omri Casspi

Rick Pitino thinks Louisville should be fined $10 million for scandal

Browns LB Armonty Bryant indicted on felony drug charge

Report: Danny Ainge 'excited' at chance to add Al Horford

Pat Haden collapsed on USC campus

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

Terrell Owens says Cris Carter 'begged his way' into HOF

QUIZ: Name every WWE Heavyweight Champion

Three NHL players who can cement their legacies like Peyton Manning

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker