The Orlando Magic built a 15-point third quarter lead, but in typical fashion, they allowed the Mavericks to come back due to poor free throw shooting and multiple turnovers, two things that have become the norm for this Magic team. With the game tied at 98, Dirk Nowitzki hit a fadeaway bank shot over Hedo Turkoglu to give Dallas a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. The Magic had a chance to take the lead, but Turkoglu missed a wide open three. Ryan Anderson rebounded the miss, but couldn’t convert the layup, giving Dallas a 100-98 victory.
Nowitzki led all scorers with 28 points while Jameer Nelson had 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Magic.
Again, it was turnovers that killed the Magic. After building and holding at least a semblance of a lead throughout most of the game (largely because they turned the ball over just four times in the first half), the Magic fell apart in the second half, turning the ball over 12 times. The Magic also were awful from the free throw line, going just 17-of-28 from the stripe – Dwight Howard was 7-of-16 from the stripe. However, Stan Van Gundy didn’t put all of the blame on him, specifically pointing out Jameer Nelson’s late missed free throw that would have given Orlando a one-point lead.
“The problem is this,” Van Gundy said. ”We shoot 60% from the line. 17-28. 12 turnovers in the second half.”
Orlando’s effort, which has often been questioned this season, wasn’t – the Magic didn’t give up and didn’t even seem to let up when they had a big lead, but those same issues with turnovers, free throws and poor play from their bench got the Mavericks back in the game. Jason Terry scored 17 points while Orlando’s bench combined to score 16 points. Delonte West added 15 points, including a three-pointer that cut Orlando’s 97-93 lead to one with less than two minutes to go.
Ryan Anderson, who played Nowitzki admirably, had 21 points, including four huge offensive rebounds in the final quarter – he converted the first three into six points, but couldn’t hit the final layup. After the game, Anderson said he rushed the shot because he thought time was expiring and told the media he “blew it.” Anderson was also a little upset with the way his matchup with Nowitzki was officiated.
“Obviously he is going to get every call,” Anderson said.
Hedo Turkoglu continued his poor play – he scored 12 points, but it took him 11 shots to do it and he continued to make inexplicably bad plays. Several times, he went into the air to shoot and then attempted to throw passes out of his shots, resulting in turnovers. He turned the ball over five times. He, Nelson (three) and J.J. Redick (three) combined to give the ball away 11 times – Dallas had just nine as a team.
Dwight Howard didn’t have a turnover in the game. Howard seemed a little upset with touches after the Knicks game Wednesday and maybe he had a right to be. Howard attempted just two shots and one free throw in the fourth quarter (he played all 12 minutes) – that’s just not going to cut it. The Magic couldn’t get him the ball, which is inexcusable. For the game, Howard had 19 points on an unusually low 6-of-13 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds.
- Vince Carter wasn’t bood and had 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting in his return.
- Earl Clark had good energy early and grabbed six rebounds in his first four minutes of action. However he grabbed just one board in his next eight minutes. If Clark would stop falling in love with his jumper and simply move the ball, he would deserve more playing time.
- Jason Richardson had two three-pointers but other than that, he was silent (again).
- Outside of the turnovers, Jameer Nelson was fantastic – he continues to show a lot of improvement. He had 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists.
Next Up: The Magic will host the Denver Nuggets Sunday evening.
Final Thought: Another big lead and another bad loss.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. 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)
Topics: Chris Duhon, Deandre Liggins, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, Ian Mahinmi, Ish Smith, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Kidd, Jason Richardson, Jason Terry, Lamar Odom, Mark Cuban, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Rick Carlisle, Ryan Anderson, Shawn Marion, Stan Van Gundy, Vince Carter, Von Wafer