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Group effort leads Mavericks over Magic

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO, Fla. -- At this stage of his career, 11-time All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki has no interest in trying to carry the Dallas Mavericks through a long NBA season.

But he still expects to be part of a really good team, just another cog in a well-balanced attack.

The Mavericks (6-4) put that balance on display Saturday night in a 108-100 victory over the Orlando Magic (4-6) when they took control early and never let go.

Nowitzki, a former NBA Most Valuable Player, had 18 points, hitting 4 of 6 shots from 3-point range and loosening the inside for others to shine.

Guard Monta Ellis led the Mavs with 19 points. Reserve forward DeJuan had a season-high 18 points. Reserve guard Vince Carter scored 12, and both guard Jose Calderon and forward Shawn Marion had 11.

"If we want to be a good team now, we have to attack from all angles," Nowitzki said. "We've got great scorers, great shooters, great playmakers. Everyone has to contribute here."

It was the ninth consecutive victory for the Mavericks in Orlando, but only their second victory away from home this season.

The Mavs shot 51.2 percent from the field (43 of 84) and committed just eight turnovers.

"We've got to do it collectively now," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's going to be all of us pulling together. It's not going to be any one superstar on any night. It's not going to be one guy putting the team on his back."

The Magic were led by guard Arron Afflalo, who had 25 points and hit 13 of his 14 free throws. Center Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Magic were hurt by the uneven play of rookie reserve point guard Victor Oladipo, who committed nine turnovers, including four in the fourth quarter when they were trying to rally against the more-experienced Mavs. Oladipo had 10 points in 28 minutes.

Magic starting point guard Jameer Nelson had 15 points and one turnovers in 23 minutes, but he didn't play in fourth quarter. The Magic had 19 turnovers.

"A lot of it boilded down to turnovers," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "They were turning us over, then scoring at the other end. Those early turnovers put us in a position where they were capitalizing."

The Mavs never trailed after the first quarter. The Magic did close to 91-87 midway in the fourth, but that was as close as they could come. Dallas never lost control of the game.

"It's just a moment where I have to learn," Oladipo said. "A tough loss, but I'll learn from this. I have to learn to execute in those situations and make sure my team in the right place."

The Mavs still led 87-80 going into the fourth quarter, despite being outscored by six points in the third quarter when neither team played well defensively.

The Mavericks led 59-46 at halftime, showing no signs of fatigue after losing in Miami on Friday night. They were sharp early, shooting 54.2 percent from the field (26 of 48) and committing only two turnovers in the midst of 15 first-half assists.

The Magic had 10 turnovers by halftime, including four by Oladipo in just 11 minutes.

The Mavs used a 13-2 burst late in the first quarter to take early control of the game, erasing the Magic's initial six-point lead. Calderon had seven points in those first 12 minutes.

Ellis had 10 points by intermission. Carter added nine by halftime. The Mavs led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter.

NOTES: The Magic were without F Kyle O'Quinn, who sprained an ankle on Wednesday against Milwaukee, but they put veteran C Solomon Jones on the active roster after he missed the previous seven games with a knee injury. ... Mavs All-Star F Dirk Nowitzki wore a protective sleeve on his left knee for the third consecutive game, but he and owner Mark Cuban insist there is no cause for concern. ... Mavs veteran G Vince Carter, who grew up in nearby Daytona Beach and makes his offseason home in Orlando, had a group of family and friends at the game. Carter was coming off his highest output of the season (21 points) on Friday night in Miami. ... It was quite a contrast in experience between the Magic and Mavs. The Magic have eight players with two years or less of NBA experience. Each starter for the Mavericks had at least eight years of experience, including three with at least 11. ... Magic C Nikola Vucevic, 23, said he grew up (mostly in Belgium) admiring Nowitzki, 35, the most celebrated European in NBA history. ... Magic G Arron Afflalo came into the game shooting 52 percent (26 of 50) from 3-point range.
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