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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Jan 29, 2024 6:25 am

Magic’s staunch defense tries to contain Luka Doncic, Mavs

For the second time in as many nights, the Orlando Magic will try to pick up a win at the expense of one of the NBA’s hottest scorers.

Orlando tips off a five-game road swing with Monday’s contest against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

Paolo Banchero’s 26 points led five Magic scorers in double-digit scoring, and seven with at least nine points, en route to a 113-98 win over Phoenix on Sunday.

In each of its last three wins, Orlando held its opponents to fewer than 100 points – and did so despite Devin Booker scoring 44 points on Sunday.

The Magic clamped down on the rest of the Suns, allowing only one other scorer to reach double-figures. That was Kevin Durant, whose 15 points were more than 13 fewer than his season average.

Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley highlighted Jonathan Isaac as central to the team’s defensive play both Sunday and throughout the season.

“His disruption on [Durant], switching out [and] being able to guard Book, being able to be at the rim, all of those [are] what make him an elite defender,” Mosley said.

Booker came into the matchup fresh off a 62-point outburst against Indiana on Friday, part of a remarkable week around the NBA in which four players broke the 60-point mark. Chief among the quartet was Doncic with 73 points in Dallas’ 148-143 win at Atlanta on Friday.

Friday’s result ended a three-game skid for the Mavericks, but they dropped their fourth in the last five outings on Saturday with a 120-115 defeat against Sacramento.

Doncic finished with a triple-double of 28 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds while logging more than 46 minutes against the Kings. He played almost 45 on Friday.

“I’m tired. Can’t wait to go to sleep, honestly,” Doncic said following Saturday’s contest. “They’re the coaches. They want me to play, I’ll play all the time. No problem.”

Doncic, who ranks second in the NBA in scoring at 34.4 points per game and third in assists at 9.4 per contest, averages the second-most minutes per game of any player in the league at 37.3.

The only other Maverick averaging more than 30 minutes per game is Kyrie Irving (33.3), who will miss his fourth straight game with a thumb injury. Tim Hardaway Jr. is playing exactly 30 minutes a night in 43 games.

Hardaway has been Dallas’ third-leading scorer at 18 points per game, behind Doncic and Irving (25.2).

Hardaway, Irving and Doncic all broke 20 points the last time the Mavericks saw Orlando. Doncic went for 29, Irving scored 21 with 10 assists and Hardaway came off the bench for 21 in a 117-102 Mavericks win on Nov. 6.

No Orlando scorer is posting more than Banchero’s 22.6 points per game. Franz Wagner is just behind at 20.6 but hasn’t scored more than 19 in any of his four games back from an ankle sprain that cost him eight games.

Wagner scored 11 points in Sunday’s win while grabbing eight rebounds and matching Banchero with a game-high seven assists. His brother, Moritz Wagner, came off the bench for a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double.

Sunday’s performance was Moritz Wagner’s third consecutive scoring in double-figures off the bench and seventh in his last 10 games. He scored 19 points in Orlando’s last meeting with Dallas.

–Field Level Media

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