In the second night of a trip through Florida, one of the toughest back-to-backs in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks came out flat against the Orlando Magic, falling behind 55-46 after two quarters.
Asides from Delonte West, who had 4 points and 3 assists off the bench in his second game returning from a finger injury, none of the other Dallas guards could create easy shots off the dribble. As a result, the Mavericks offense was extremely stagnant, with the team shooting 42.5% from the floor while getting only 8 assists to 5 turnovers.
Dallas was kept in the game by Dirk Nowitzki, who had 18 points on 4-11 shooting while going 8-8 from the free-throw line, stopping the flow of the game and preventing Orlando from getting out in the open court, where they have a tremendous athletic advantage.
Dwight Howard was held in check by Brendan Haywood, whose sheer bulk at 7'0 265 prevented Howard from posting up at the front of the rim and dunking, which is his preferred offensive move.
However, despite Howard's pedestrian 8 points on 2-7 shooting, the Magic got a balanced scoring effort from Jameer Nelson (10 points) and Ryan Anderson (12 points), staying comfortably ahead of the Mavericks for most of the first half