The Orlando Magic struggled against Dallas earlier this season, but after extra time off, they’ll face a Mavericks team that may be sluggish after an overtime win.
The Magic (52-22) haven’t played since a 103-97 win over Denver on Sunday, and return to action trying for their 14th win in 17 games. However, defeating Nowitzki and the Mavericks (50-25) has proven to be difficult.
Orlando fell 95-85 to Dallas on Feb. 19 for its sixth defeat in the last seven meetings between the teams. Nowitzki, who had 23 points in that game, has scored at least 20 his last 14 games against the Magic, and is averaging 28.1 points in the last nine.
The Magic, who ended a 10-game skid in Dallas in February 2008, shot 16.0 percent from 3-point range against the Mavericks earlier this season. Dwight Howard(notes) paced Orlando with 29 points and 16 rebounds.
Howard leads the Magic with 18.6 points per game, and may need to carry the bulk of the scoring again with Vince Carter(notes) (16.5 ppg) having played just 95 seconds against the Nuggets due to a sprained toe. Carter is considered day-to-day, but is listed in the starting lineup posted on the Magic’s official Web site.
Orlando showed off its depth Sunday. J.J. Redick(notes) scored 23 points and had career highs of eight assists and seven rebounds while Ryan Anderson(notes) scored 19 points in 20 minutes off the bench.
“I think we showed that we can win with a bunch of different lineups,” Anderson said. “There’s not a lot of teams, maybe none, who can do that.”
Orlando, which visits San Antonio on Friday, first looks to take advantage of a Mavericks team returning home after a 106-102 overtime win over Memphis on Wednesday in which they had trailed by as many as 13.
Despite his struggles, Nowitzki scored 10 of the Mavericks’ final 11 points in the fourth quarter and then had six points in the last 24 seconds of overtime, including all four of his foul shots.
“He’s the type of guy that has so much confidence in his shot,” Haywood said. “His shot is so pure that you know eventually he’s going to start making them.”
Dallas, which has won three straight after losing four of six, clinched its 10th straight season of 50 or more victories. San Antonio and the Lakers were the only teams to compile 10 straight 50-win seasons since the league went to an 82-game schedule in 1967-68.