NBA action resumes as the underperforming Dallas Mavericks take on the over-achieving Orlando Magic. They face off at the American Airlines Center at 8:30 pm tonight. It will be the battle of the European All-Stars as Luka Doncic leads his team against Nikola Vucevic’s men.
The Mavericks started their season without Kristaps Porzingis. Missing a player of his caliber was always going to hurt, but the inconsistent and inefficient displays from Luka Doncic have also hurt them. He has turned it up in their last two games, which is why the Mavs were able to come away with wins.
The Magic had a dream 4-0 start, which was halted by the 76ers. They lost unexpectedly to the Thunder in the following game, but then revived their momentum with back-to-back wins against the in-form Cavaliers. Last night they had an embarrassing 42 point defeat against the Rockets. So they will be aiming to do a lot better tonight.
The Mavericks lineup has taken a big hit for tonight’s game. They are going to miss Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Jalen Brunson because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. They are likely to miss at least one week each. Porzingis is still out, but he is nearing a return and has returned to practice. The only positive for the Mavs is that Trey Burke might return.
So their lineup could have Trey Burke and Luka Doncic as the guards, Tim Hardaway Jr and James Johnson as the forwards, and Willie Cauley-Stein as the center.
The Magic have their own set of injury problems. They will be hoping Evan Fournier can return in time to play after missing four straight games. Aaron Gordon missed the Rockets game, but should be able to return tonight.
Their lineup will feature Cole Anthony and Evan Fournier as the guards, Dwayne Bacon and Aaron Gordon as the forwards, and Nikola Vucevic as the center.
The Mavericks will need a miracle from Doncic to come away with a win. They are missing three crucial players and it will be tough for them to win without them. On the other hand, the Magic are getting two important players back to their lineup. So they should be able to sneak a win, but it will definitively be close.
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