National Basketball Association
Dallas at Orlando
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, February 21, 2020
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic had a busy weekend while representing the World team in the Rising Stars Challenge and starting for Team LeBron in Sunday's All-Star Game but will get back to the business of leading his team to the playoffs on Friday. Doncic and the Mavericks will visit the Orlando Magic on Friday to begin a stretch with six of seven on the road.
Doncic missed seven games with an ankle injury before returning against Sacramento in the final game before the break and pouring in 33 points, and the team is hoping to build some continuity over the final third of the regular season. "We have to view it as a good thing that we've had to play without these guys individually for a couple stretches," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. "It really stresses the team and brings the best out in the rest of the guys. Coming out of the break, we've got to lick our wounds and the home stretch is going to be big for playoff positioning and all that. We haven't made the playoffs yet." The Magic are working on their playoff positioning as well and come out of the break in eighth place in the Eastern Conference after winning their last two games. Orlando dropped 10 of 12 before the brief hot streak going into the break and has not beaten a team with a winning record since Jan. 15.TIME:
7 p.m. ET. TV:
FS Southwest, FS FloridaABOUT THE MAVERICKS (33-22):
Doncic's absence gave forward Kristaps Porzingis the space to shine and he responded by averaging 28.8 points in the five games he played while Doncic was out. The two thrived together upon Doncic's return last week, with Porzingis springing for 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in the 130-111 victory over Sacramento. "Luka's done a good job communicating to me where I want to get the ball," Porzingis told reporters. "And, he's starting to find me in those spots where I'm comfortable. Slowly these things are starting to click. I think as we keep working, playing together, it's going to get better and better and better."ABOUT THE MAGIC (24-31):
Orlando was represented at All-Star weekend in the dunk contest by forward Aaron Gordon, who finished a controversial second to Miami's Derrick Jones Jr. Gordon is more than just a spectacular finisher at the rim and scored 23 or more points in four of the first seven games this month. "I'd like the team to be playing a little bit better," Gordon told the team's website after a 116-112 overtime win over Detroit before the break. "I know that I help us and when I play well, the team plays well - which is kind of a given. But we've got a long way to go to be a team that is in contention and can win in the playoffs. But I'm going to continue to play the way that I know how to play, be true to myself and have fun playing the game."BUZZER BEATERS
1. Mavericks SG Seth Curry is 20-of-31 from 3-point range over his last five games.
2. Magic PG D.J. Augustin (knee) missed the last 15 games but is expected to return soon.
3. Dallas edged Orlando 107-106 at home on Nov. 6 behind 27 points from Doncic.PREDICTION:
Mavericks 109, Magic 105
Stats and Records