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Mavericks look to get well versus Magic
The Dallas Mavericks are in danger of finishing up a four-game homestand on the opposite end of where it began.
After closing out 2017 by winning four in row, the Mavericks are hoping to avoid a four-game skid Tuesday night against the slumping Orlando Magic at American Airlines Center.
The Mavs (13-28) trailed throughout their latest setback, 100-96 to New York on Sunday, before mounting a rally late. Despite being down 13 in the fourth quarter, Dallas had the ball with a chance to take the lead twice in the final 2 1/2 minutes.
The message in the fourth quarter had more to do with heart than anything a coach could draw up.
"It was kind of like, man up," said Harrison Barnes, who scored a team-high 25. "I mean, we are in this situation, the shots and the plays that they are getting. It's one thing if it's where we are getting out executed. But it was effort plays. It was offensive rebounds, miss communications, wide-open shots. I feel like once we dug down, we were able to get back into the game."
While the Mavs had a chance at the end, the rest of the game was a concern.
"It started off early in the game," Barnes said. "Us starters have to do a better job just controlling the pace, controlling the tempo. We just let them get off to a good start and it was tough for us to get back into the game. We got some shots, we got it close, but if we put ourselves in that deficit it's hard to battle back."
Orlando (12-28) has dropped four straight and 13 of 14 as it embarks on a three-game road trip. The Magic put in a scare against Cleveland in their last outing before falling 131-127.
The Cavaliers were in control for much of the game, only to have Orlando make its share of runs before running out of gas.
"We played hard and we didn't quit on the game, but I feel like we shouldn't have been in a 20-point hole," Magic coach Frank Vogel said. "The way we came out in the third quarter flat was very disappointing and we've got to honor the fundamentals of the game, especially on the defensive end, getting back on transition and hitting your man on a shot. When we continue to have breakdowns like that, we're going to continue to lose games."
Aaron Gordon scored 24 of his 30 points in the second half. Elfrid Payton added 20 points.
"I liked the fight that we played with, but we've got to play with that the whole game for us to compete and make a push," Gordon said. "My teammates put their trust in me, but we're all just trying to make the right play."
Dallas has won nine of the last 11 and 21 of the last 28 regular-season meetings with Orlando, and hasn't lost a season series with the Magic since 1997-98. The Mavericks have won also five straight and 15 of the last 18 regular-season showdowns in Dallas.
Updated January 8, 2018