The Dallas Mavericks demonstrated the value of experience and consistency to the Orlando Magic.
The veteran Mavericks made all the right plays at all the right times against a young, careless Magic team, beating Orlando 108-100 behind 19 points and eight assists from Monta Ellis, who had plenty of help.
Dirk Nowitzki chipped in 18 points and a game-deciding 3-pointer to turn back the last Magic attempt at rallying from a 15-point first-half deficit. Reserve forward DeJuan Blair also scored 18 and made 4 of 6 free-throw attempts when the Magic intentionally fouled him late in the game to expose his 41.2 percent free throw shooting.
Vince Carter, another veteran reserve, added 12 points as the Mavericks' reserves outscored Orlando's 43-25. Shawn Marion and Jose Calderon had 11 apiece and Calderon added nine assists.
"We had a lot of guys play well," Dallas Coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've got to do it collectively. It's not going to be the one superstar putting the team on his back. It's going to be all of us going together."
Dallas had only 10 turnovers for the game, compared to 19 for Orlando. The Mavericks scored 22 points off Orlando's mistakes.
"We're sharing the wealth out there and it's starting to show," Marion said. "We had some lapses on defense, but going to have those. The more we cut down on turnovers and value each possession, good things are going to happen to us."
Rookie point guard Victor Oladipo had a career-worst nine turnovers, four of them in the fourth quarter. His back-to-back turnovers, when the Magic had cut the deficit to 91-87 with six minutes left in the game, effectively blunted Orlando's attempt to overtake Dallas.
"I just have to perform better in those circumstances," said Oladipo, the second pick in the June draft. "It was a close game and I have to learn to execute in those times. Most of it, really, is on me."
Oladipo played the entire fourth quarter, despite starter Jameer Nelson being healthy and having a good game with 15 points, one assist and one turnover. Nelson didn't play in the final 17 minutes of the game.
"If we didn't have those turnovers down the stretch, maybe the game could have been different," Magic Coach Jacque Vaughn said. "Those are the details we'll continue to work on. We need to learn to value the basketball whether it's the first quarter or the fourth quarter."
Arron Afflalo led the Magic with 25 points and Nikola Vucevic added 16 and eight rebounds. Oladipo had 10 points and six assists to go with his nine turnovers.
Dallas shot 51.2 percent in the game, but lost that and nearly every other statistical battle. The Magic shot 52.9 percent for the game and outrebounded Dallas 40-30.
"We played sensibly," Carlisle said. "None of us are going to get too far ahead of ourselves. We've done some good things and it's really important that we just stay focused."
The game started as a jump-shooting contest with both sides hitting better than 50 percent most of the first quarter and trading baskets with little interruption. There were six lead changes and six ties before the Mavericks went on an 11-0 run near the end of the period to take a 31-24 lead.
Dallas finished the period 13 of 26, and didn't have a layup until back-to-back fast breaks in the final minute of the period.
The Mavs shot even better in the second period -- 59.5 percent -- but nearly all of those came around the rim as Orlando's sloppy passing and turnovers led to fast-break opportunities. Dallas stretched its lead to 15 on a jump-hook from Blair in the lane and settled for a 59-46 halftime lead. Orlando made it easier with 10 turnovers, four by Oladipo, that the Mavericks turned into 15 points.
The Mavericks hit their first five shots in the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers from Nowitzki, but couldn't get any separation because they also turned the ball over three times. That allowed the Magic to pull within 81-74 on a dunk by Oladipo with 3:39 left in the period. The teams traded baskets the rest of the way and Dallas finished the quarter with an 87-80 lead.
Published at 10:13 AM CST on Nov 17, 2013
Copyright Associated Press