Magic pull away late to overcome short-handed Mavericks
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel doesn’t have one go-to player he can count on every night.
What he has are a collection of proven veterans who are capable of getting hot on any given night. On Saturday night against Dallas, it was D.J. Augustin’s turn.
The point guard came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points to lift the Magic past Dallas, 95-87, at Amway Center. Augustin, playing the final 17.5 minutes in place of starter Elfrid Payton, came through with 10 points and four assists in the fourth quarter to rally Orlando past a short-handed but dangerous Mavericks’ team.
"I was planning on coming back to Elfrid but D.J. got going," Vogel said. "I’m typically going to ride the hot hand. They had two really small quick guards so I liked our defensive matchups on top of the fact D.J. was going."
In a game that was tied eight times and had six lead changes. Around the midway point of the fourth quarter, Augustin came through with back-to-back 3-pointers to deliver the Magic from a one-point deficit to an 82-77 lead with 6:29 remaining in the game.
Orlando would not trail again.
"Those were two big plays and we made mistakes that led to it," said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. "We have no margin for error."
With Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams out for the night, the Mavericks (2-10) had to rely on rookie point guard Jonathan Gibson, who scored a game-high 26 points off the bench after being signed by the team as a free agent on Friday.
Gibson was certainly an offensive spark but his inexperience defensively was often exploited by Augustin, who consistently beat him with crossovers and pull up jumpers on the perimeter.
"I’m able to sit there and watch what’s going on in the game, the flow of the game and try to figure out what we need at the time when I come in," Augustin said. "If it’s just to calm things down or play with a lot of energy."
Augustin, who was 6 of 11 from the field and four of four from the free throw line, gave the Magic (6-7) a spark on a night when shooting guard Evan Fournier struggled, shooting 3 of 13 from the field and Nikola Vucevic was 5-for-16 in the paint.
"We needed that," forward Jeff Green said of Augustin’s performance. "We were missing shots and he came in and was efficient knocking down shots and getting us in a good offensive pace and making plays."
Mavericks: Both Nowitzki and Williams were held out of Saturday night’s lineup due to nagging injuries. … Harrison Barnes, who was third option at best with Golden State, is averaging a career-high 22.2 points per game this season.
Magic: Coming into Saturday night’s game, Orlando was allowing 100.9 points per game, which ranks 11th in the NBA. The Magic had held opponents to under 100 points five times, under 90 four times, which includes Wednesday’s season-low of 82 points against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Gibson just joined the Mavericks on Friday and was playing in just his second game with the team but he showed his ability to take over as a scorer.
With the injuries at the point guard position, Gibson came off the bench to score 26 points and at times personally keep the Mavs in the game. He shot 8 of 16 from the field and 5 of 9 from 3-point range but he also had six turnovers and five personal fouls.
Mavericks: Dallas’ road trip continues with San Antonio as the next stop on Monday night at AT&T Center.
Magic: Orlando hits the road to take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night at BMO Harris Bradley Center.