The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Orlando Magic, 110-105

The Dallas Mavericks Fell at home Friday night, lost to Orlando Magic 110-105. Paulo Banchero led a balanced effort from Orlando with a score of 19. Christian Wood was the Dallas MVP, with 23 goals.

Dallas opened its solo home game in pre-season with initial unit Luka Doncic, Gaval McGee, Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney Smith and Jaden Hardy. After trading baskets early, the Magic stopped being able to score for most of the quarter and scored Dallas in every way imaginable, led by Doncic. The Mavericks built a quick double-digit lead as Christian Wood, Maxi Kleiber and Tim Hardaway Jr. got in on the fun to finish the quarter. The wood in particular looked fresh as it dived into Pick and Roll, making mistakes easily. The Mavericks lead 33-18 after one quarter.

The second frame opened with what would be a scriptural model for what Dallas could hope for with Christian Wood coming off the bench: Christian Wood driving the offense. The Mavericks continued to maintain a significant lead for most of the quarter, with the Magic scoring a few shots on Dallas’ active defense. The push continued, chopping the lead down to a number one around the five-minute mark, then tied the game at 48 three minutes before the end of the game. Doncic and Dorian Vinnie Smith helped Dallas lead 60-55 in the first half.

From the inning, with Doncic out for the rest of the match, the Mavericks remaining in a spin tried to keep the Magic out. Terrence Ross kept Orlando in the match, while Wood gave Dallas fans a taste of his talent with a variety of baskets. The back end of the bench started to get some time, with McKinley Wright and two-way player Tyler Dorsey getting minutes. RJ Hampton’s second-last shot pulled Orlando within one at the end of the quarter. Dallas led 84-83 heading to the final frame.

The end of the bench units took the floor for both teams and the Mavericks simply couldn’t score for most of the quarter and couldn’t stop the Magic. Tyler Hall finally found his first points as a tonic, after missing his first seven shots. Hardy got on the offensive with Wright, with mixed results. Three more from Hole of late gave Dallas a glimmer of hope after the number dropped from double digits, but it wasn’t enough. Dallas drops to the Orlando Magic, 110-105.

Christian Wood and Luka Doncic would do very well

Since Wood was the sixth man until further notice, we were only able to see limited minutes from Doncic Wood. It’s safe to say that these two will work on the offensive end. Wood’s ruthless dive made a number of mistakes and his ability to hold onto three flares and firecrackers could cause opposing defenses to have heart attacks. A wrong drawing is something to watch for going forward too, it’s one of those little things that can accumulate over the course of the game.

Jaden Hardy, writer

It’s worth paying attention to what coach Jason Kidd has to say about his post-game starts (if he says anything). Getting Hardy by surprise nod next to Doncic was a fun option and it’s hard not to read it. With a pair of pre-season games, Hardy looks like he belongs on the ground with Dallas. Being able to get Dinwiddie off the bench will help answer some of the ball-handling questions we’ve been asking since free agency, simply because Hardy will take some guard minutes and allow Doncic and Dinwiddy to play more away time.

Again, it’s just pre-season, but it’s something to think about. Hardy is still likely to spend a fair amount of time with the legendaries. However, backup support point minutes will become an issue at some point during a long season, so Dallas needs to find as many potential answers as possible. Plus, I think many of us would like to see Hardy play in the NBA minutes if Dallas could withstand the inevitable learning curve.

More wooden ideas

This was an outstanding offensive performance for Wood, making contact with 8 of 12 shots including three of his triples. While his triples were beautiful (and would be an important part of his and Luca connection, I think), what he made inside the switch is what I think of.

In the third quarter, he made a dribbling move from the left corner that led to a beautiful shot and showed the kind of dribbling skill we simply haven’t seen from the big players during Luka Doncic’s era. Later, he had a key job that ended with a smooth 10-foot jig. There is a lot to like in his attacking arsenal and we hope the Mavericks find a way to take full advantage of this season.

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