Magic vs. Mavericks
Wesley Matthews goes off for 21 points with 5 rebounds as the Mavericks beat the Magic 121-108 on Monday night.
Final: Mavs 121, Magic 108
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Mavs’ four highest-scoring games of the season have all come within the last five contests (121, 122, 128, 129). This team is on an absolute roll offensively right now.
The Mavs’ first half was their highest-scoring of the season, with 69 points.
The Dirkburger broke sales records tonight. If you haven’t heard about the burger yet, check it out here. It’s on sale at the arena all month. This has nothing to do with basketball, of course, but it’s a really good sandwich, and sometimes it’s OK for delicious food to earn a mention.
David Lee has made a positive impact in every game he’s played so far in his tenure with the Mavs, but tonight his impact might have been most noticeable. Lee was a force in the first half, particularly on offense as a roll man in the wide-open pick-and-roll. He finished around the rim with layups and dunks, but his finest play was a pass to Dirk Nowitzki in the weakside corner for a three-pointer. Lee brings a unique element to the team at the center spot, as he has the ability to pass the ball sharply on the move, allowing the Mavericks to play a more free-flowing style of offense that Rick Carlisle ultimately prefers over a more traditional system. When Dallas puts five players on the floor who can all pass and all create for themselves if need be, it becomes a very difficult offense to stop. The Mavs scored 69 points in the first half thanks in large part to Lee’s presence on the floor. The way he’s been playing lately, and considering what he brings to the team in terms of skill set, it’s going to be hard to keep him out of games for long.
The Mavericks used a 13-0 run in the third quarter to open up a 21-point lead which remained comfortable throughout the rest of the game. Even taking the home team’s hot start into consideration, Orlando was still able to hold serve in the opening half before Dallas ultimately overwhelmed the Magic after the intermission. The Mavs have been an offensive machine in recent weeks, churning out points efficiently and consistently. The entire team is in a groove right now, and that’s the type of play you want to see as we approach the playoffs. As Carlisle has said numerous times lately, however, the Mavericks haven’t exactly been playing a very difficult schedule the last few games. Still, Dallas shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for scoring at such an absurd rate.
Dallas had a minor issue with a slow start tonight, but the Mavs’ offense quickly heated up later in the period, finishing the opening frame with 35 points. The high-scoring first was the team’s fifth 30-point quarter in its last nine, a pretty good indicator of just how well the Mavs have played on that side of the ball lately. Dallas would go on to score 34 in the second quarter, as well. Coming into tonight, the Mavs had the most efficient offense in the NBA since the All-Star break, scoring 116.0 points per 100 possession in five games since the respite.
Wesley Matthews was a post-up monster tonight. Before the game, Carlisle mentioned Matthews has been getting more looks down low as the season has worn on, and tonight was a good indication of how many looks he can get in the future, especially when the matchup plays to his advantage. The 2-guard finished with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, with plenty of pretty fallaway and turnaround jumpers from the block. Matthews on the block allows the Mavericks to invert their offense with the bigs up top, opening up all sorts of mismatches predicated on forcing the defenders to play in unfamiliar territory. Most 4s and 5s aren’t used to checking guys at the three-point line, and most 2s aren’t used to bigger guys bodying up to them down low. It’s one more way the Mavs can things difficult for opponents.
The Mavs (33-28) play the Sacramento Kings (24-33) Thursday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.