Nov 18, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews (23) and forward Harrison Barnes (40) and guard Seth Curry (30) check the scoreboard during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at the American Airlines Center. The Grizzlies defeat the Mavericks 80-64. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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After losing four straight games, the Dallas Mavericks travel on a quick turnaround to face the Orlando Magic on Saturday night in Orlando.
Rock bottom has come in Dallas whether you like it or not. Four veterans are still out due to injury and the young guns haven’t exploded onto the scene like some would have imagined. This all came to light at it’s peak on Friday night as the Mavericks scored just 64 points and lost to the Memphis Grizzlies by 16.
But that is in the past and now the Mavericks must shift gear (quickly) to the Magic after arriving in Orlando in the early hours of the morning. Sitting at 2-9 on the season, Dallas looks for that elusive third win on the season.
For the Magic, it’s been a little different story over the past week. Their last game, three days ago, was a win at home against the New Orleans Pelicans. Now they welcome the Mavericks on two full days rest.
With Nowitzki, Harris, Williams, and Barea still out, to go along with a second game on a night of a back-to-back, Dallas has all the odds stacked against them.
Here are three ways for them to win on Saturday night.
Nov 9, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry (30) controls the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
1.) Make the Outside Shot
In what many thought would be a strength for the Mavericks this season, Dallas is 29th in the league in three-point percentage at 29%.
Yes, they have been without some key veteran players such as Dirk Nowitzki, but that still doesn’t warrant 29th in the league.
The Magic are 2nd in the league in 3PA, which means the Mavericks will have to make the most of their outside opportunities tonight in Orlando. Sometimes you can keep launching three-pointers in hopes of finding a groove, but for the Magic, they make it a key to limit those opportunities.
With the outside shot such a key to the Mavericks success this season, they must shoot the three at a high percentage tonight.
Nov 16, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Damjan Rudez (3) shoots the ball over New Orleans Pelicans forward Terrence Jones (9) during the second half at Amway Center. The Magic won 89-82. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
2.) Force Orlando to Shoot Outside
Orlando made noise over the offseason by adding to their frontline, but it didn’t do much for their outside shooting.
Orlando ranks 24th in the league in three point percentage at 32% while attempting a little over 25 a game. Combine that with their two point shooting and the Orlando Magic are 29th in the league in overall field goal percentage.
Dallas must force them to take bad shots and shoot from behind the arc. With players such as Elfrid Payton and Jeff Green logging quality minutes, Dallas would be in a good position to win the game if they force Orlando into bad shots.
Nov 9, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes (40) controls the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
3.) Bounce Back from Harrison Barnes
It’s no secret by now, but Harrison Barnes is proving to be one of the better, surprising stories in the league with his near all-star level of play. While leading the team in scoring, it’s no secret who will get the ball tonight in Orlando.
After scoring just 15 points on 5-17 shooting on Friday night, Dallas will need a bounce back game from Harrison Barnes to beat a young team in Orlando.
Likely looking at Serge Ibaka lined up next to him, Barnes will have to force the big man to move his feet and get to the rim as he looks to lead the Mavs to their third win of the season.