Mavericks Take Care of Business against the Orlando Magic

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77). | Image from Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks were finally back at full strength, with the team’s second-leading scorer Kristaps Porzingis and head coach Jason Kidd making their first return from COVID-19 absences.

The Mavericks made the reunion night a positive one by handling the Orlando Magic efficiently in a 108-92 victory at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Porzingis, who missed the previous seven games, finished with 19 points and seven rebounds as the Mavericks never trailed. Dallas made an effort to reacclimate Porzingis back into game form instantly, calling a play for him on their opening possession, resulting in a successful 8-foot jump shot.

“And then it was just finding opportunities within the offense,” Porzingis said postgame. “That’s what I wanted to do; I didn’t want to force anything too much. First game back, lungs are going to feel it a little bit.”

Despite it being his first game in 15 days, Porzingis did not show much rust in an impressive first quarter, making his first three shot attempts and only missing once in the period. He had 12 points, one rebound, and one steal at the end of the opening quarter, with Dallas holding a 32-23 lead.

Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson finished with 23 and 19 points, respectively, as the Mavericks avoided a letdown following a big win over a surging Memphis team just 24 hours prior. Holding the Magic to 92 points marks the eighth time Dallas has kept their opponent under 100 points in the last ten games.

The win moves Dallas (24-19) to five games above .500 for only the second time this season; the other was when the team was 9-4.

“I think as a whole our defense is at a very high level,” said coach Jason Kidd, who missed the previous four games. “Things that we talked about when the season started. I think everyone is on the same page.”

Orlando (8-36) never let the game get completely out of hand despite never taking the lead. At halftime, the Magic only trailed by 12, and the Mavericks only outscored them by 4 points after halftime.

Another reunion came in Orlando’s head coach Jamahl Mosley returning for the first time after serving as an assistant for Dallas under former coach Rick Carlisle the last seven seasons.

“Seven years here with such a great organization and the people here, the relationships that I’ve built and my family built, it’s just great to see some of the wonderful people that have been here,” Mosley said postgame.

Mosley was previously the defensive coordinator for the Mavericks, an area where the team has majorly improved this season under Kidd and new defensive coordinator Sean Sweeney.

“They’ve been phenomenal defensively,” Mosley added. “Just obviously creating turnovers, getting into the ball, their pick and roll coverages have been spot on, you know, they do a great job of forcing you to tough shots.”

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