Pregame: What to Watch For, Orlando Magic at Dallas Mavericks
The Orlando Magic are set to take on the Dallas Mavericks for the second time in 5 nights. This time around Dallas won’t be as short-handed. Let’s see how the Magic come out against the same team with a revamped lineup.
The Dallas Mavericks came to Orlando last Thursday missing a few players notably, Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, and Nerlens Noel. The absence of those three players is enough to overlook the Dallas Mavericks. However, the Orlando Magic came out and played a solid all-around game and grabbed a 112-89 victory. Aaron Gordon had a stellar night with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but tonight is different. There will be more shooting on the floor and a lot more length. The Orlando Magic have the length to defend against Dallas no matter who is on the court. It will be interesting to see how Jonathan Isaac holds up against the Mavericks big three, he most likely will match-up with all of them.
Both Jonathon Simmons and Wesley Iwundu will be excited to play their first Magic game in their home state of Texas. Simmons and Iwundu are from the Houston area and will surely look to put on a show for friends and family in attendance. Simmons has already shown that he will be a key factor in the success of the Magic. His athleticism has been featured in every Magic game highlight footage so far in the preseason. Look for more of the same from Simmons tonight.
Wesley Iwundu is still pretty raw on the offensive side but his length has served him well on defense. Iwundu came into the ready to contribute on defense. Tonight look for Iwundu to cause problems on defense that lead to easy transition buckets. He may not get credit for a deflection or disrupting passes on the stat sheet, but his hustle will be noted by the team.
The Dallas Mavericks will play their projected starting 5 heavy minutes tonight. This is a complete reverse from last weeks meeting in Orlando. Dallas had 8 players that did not travel to Orlando on Thursday including 3 starters and Head coach Rick Carlisle. The Magic held Dallas to 33 percent shooting and will try to replicate that great defensive effort. Solid performances tonight will raise the confidence of a Magic squad who is already seeing what they are capable of. After a rough outing in the first preseason game of the year, Orlando has figured it out. They have tightened up on their defense and have started to play faster on offense. An identity is starting to form. A third consecutive game of stellar defense and fast offense will give Orlando a good look at themselves.
While the Magic are getting into a rhythm and learning each other, Coach Vogel does not want to overwork anyone. Vogel plans to rest some of his players tonight and use the bench a little more. With only three preseason games remaining after tonight Vogel has to make a final roster soon. The starting lineup looks to be set and so does the second five. What has to be figured out in the coming preseason games is who occupies those last few roster spots and how the minutes will be distributed. Arron Afflalo came into Saturday nights game against the Miami Heat and lit it up.
Afflalo has been dealing with some back pain early in the preseason. After Saturday’s performance its safe to say Arron is ready to play. With so much depth for the Magic at the wing positions many thought of Afflalo as just a mentor. He is more than just a mentor to the young players, he can still put the ball in the hoop. Look for Arron Afflalo to get a bump in minutes for the Magic tonight and be a featured part of the offense.