The Orlando Magic will try to get back on the right track when they play host to the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night. It will be the second game for Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson but they still won’t have had time to even have a real practice, having played in Atlanta the night before. Still, you’ d expect some of the nerves to be gone in game 2.
It won’t be easy for the Magic to get a win. The Mavericks are 22-5 and ended Miami’s 12-game winning streak behind Dirk Nowitzki’s 26 points with a 98-96 victory Monday night. It was their third straight win and their 15th win in their last 16 games. Their 22-5 record is second only to the 24-3 San Antonio Spurs in the west an is the third best record in the NBA (Boston, 22-4). Orlando lost for the seventh time in their last eight games with their loss to the Hawks Monday night and fell to just 16-11 on the season after their 15-4 start.
The two teams split their season series last year with each team winning on the other’s home floor. Dallas won at Orlando on February 19th 95-85 while Orlando won in Dallas on April 1st 97-82.
The game will be shown locally by Sun Sports. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
Tip off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST.
The Line: Orlando – 3.0
The officials will be Monty McCutchen, Tommy Nunez Jr. and Sean Wright.
Opponent To Watch: Dirk Nowitzki, F – Dirk is having one of the best seasons of his fantastic career. The 2007 NBA MVP is one of the early favorites for the award this year. He’s going for 24.6 points per game. He is shooting an incredible 55.8% from the field and 42.4% from beyond the arc. He’s also grabbing 7.6 rebounds per game. He averaged 23.5 points per game against the Magic nightmare and they have no one who can even come to close to being able to match up with him.
What To Watch For: Both teams should be playing on tired legs after playing Sunday night. Dwight Howard was a monster against Dallas last season, averaging 23 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks per game in the two meetings but Dallas has upgraded the Center position since acquiring Tyson Chandler in the offseason. Chandler is averaging 8.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
Without having participated in a real practice together, it will be difficult for the team to improve upon their chemistry but with a game under their belt, it will be interesting to see if we get more production out of the Magic offense.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com) and ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).