Orlando Magic vs. Dallas Mavericks Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 6th 2023

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The Orlando Magic will need to adjust with injured center Wendell Carter Jr. sidelined for the next few weeks, but altering their defensive focus won’t be among the changes.

The Magic have been one of the league’s top defensive teams early this season, and they’ll need another strong effort when they face the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

Dallas improved to 5-1 with a 124-118 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. Luka Doncic scored 23 points, Grant Williams added 18, and Dereck Lively II contributed 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Orlando will play its second straight game without Carter, who fractured a third metacarpal in his left hand on Thursday in a win over the Utah Jazz. The sixth-year pro will be reevaluated in approximately three weeks.

Carter is averaging 9.4 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Magic, who have won two straight. Orlando boasts the league’s second-best defensive rating (103.5) and is second in steals per game (9.8).

“Our guys know it and I want everyone to know it. We’re going to be a defensive team first,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “Sit down and guard, whether we’re making shots or missing shots. You’re going to have to see us defensively. And that’s who this team has to be night in and night out to give ourselves a chance.”

Orlando faces a Dallas team that ranks fourth in the league in scoring at 121.3 points per game.

The Mavericks have been impressive during the fourth quarter of each of their wins this season, and coach Jason Kidd isn’t surprised by his team’s clutch play.

“When you have 77 (Doncic) and 11 (Kyrie Irving), it’s an easy thing,” Kidd said. “…We’ve spent a lot of time on end-of-game situations, and everyone’s very comfortable.”

The Mavericks received another encouraging performance from Lively on Sunday, when he recorded his second double-double of the young season.

Williams has also played well in his first few weeks with Dallas following four seasons with the Boston Celtics. Williams is shooting 56 percent (23-of-41) from 3-point range through six games.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys on the team and we’re still in that process of learning each other,” Kidd said. “But I think when you look at late-game execution and things that we’ve been focused on, we’re headed in the right direction.”

Dallas will confront a formidable Orlando front line on Monday, even with Carter sidelined.

Goga Bitadze started in place of Carter in a 120-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday and finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes. Center Moe Wagner will also play a key role off the bench.

“Both (Bitadze and Wagner) have very good basketball IQs and feels for the game,” Mosley said. “That’s so important as we continue to play with different lineups that we have guys out there that understand the concepts of what we want to accomplish.”

The Magic are monitoring the status of Markelle Fultz (knee) and Gary Harris (groin), who are both listed as day-to-day (though reports late Sunday indicated Harris would miss the game). Rookie guard Anthony Black made his first start against the Lakers and scored 11 points in 30 minutes.

–Field Level Media

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