The Dallas Mavericks (6-3) will visit the Amway Center tonight at 4:30 p.m. CST to face the Orlando Magic (2-9) for the second time in 10 days. Why so early? Well, a hurricane is near. Dallas handled Orlando the last time these two teams met, defeating the Magic by a score of 114-105. Orlando will be looking for the promotion, while the Mavericks hope to secure a win at the front of a back-to-back.
Fans will be treated to a rematch between a white-hot Luka Doncic and ROY favorite Paolo Banchero (assuming he plays through a left ankle injury that has him listed as questionable). The Magic’s roster is loaded with young talent, and Dallas will need to ignore their record and take them seriously in order to win their fifth straight game.
This is very much a “take care of business” game for Dallas, and here are a few things to watch out for as they look to do just that.
Will the JaVale McGee parody continue?
You could almost hear the collective heartbreak from the MFFL community when Jason Kidd made the announcement on Monday night JaVale McGee would return to the starting lineup, citing “matchups” as the rationale. After a successful start by Dwight Powell against Toronto, it didn’t seem to make much sense to go back to the wildly ineffective lineup centered around McGee over a non-traditional starting big in Nic Claxton. That was immediately apparent, as McGee was pulled 3:25 into the game throwing a stupid out of bounds pass and earning visible taunts from Luka Doncic. McGee only played 9 minutes against the Magic last week and was -12 in that span. Simply put, he can’t see the floor at this juncture. If the Mavericks want to avoid a slow start, they will start Dwight Powell.
The Magic have PG this time
The last time they faced Dallas, Orlando was decimated by injuries at the point guard position and was forced to ask Franz Wagner, Terrence Ross and R.J. Hampton to moonlight in that role. It was obvious that the Magic lacked a floor in general as they struggled to create good crunch plays, helping the Mavericks pull away late. While Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony remain out, Orlando will have Jalen Suggs in the lineup this time around. The sophomore guard is off to a strong start to the season, averaging 12.7 points and 5.0 assists on 45 percent shooting from the field. He’s part of the vast collection of young lottery picks on the Magic’s roster, and Dallas will need to game plan for what he brings to the table.
Who will boost the short-handed Mavericks?
With Christian Wood out with knee injury and Tim Hardaway Jr. questionable with hip strain, the Mavericks bench is suddenly in an extremely thin position. Josh Green should continue to build on his career-best performance and give the Mavericks production. Maxi Kleber will need to take some shots. The question is: who else will Jason Kidd call upon to fill the empty minutes of the Mavericks’ top two scorers off the bench? Will Frank Ntilikina make his season debut and do something? Does Jaden Hardy get the call up and thrust into a rotational role? We will be forced to suffer through *gulp* Minutes Facundo Campazzo? It will be interesting to see how they deal with this issue. Hopefully Wood and Hardaway won’t be out for an extended stretch because the Mavericks need their production off the bench and have no easy ways to replace it.
How to watch
The Mavericks and Magic will be tipped shortly after 4:30 p.m. CST at Bally Sports Southwest.