DALLAS - Red-hot superstar Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks host the Orlando Magic on Saturday night in the Mavs' third home game of the season. Dallas returns home after winning two straight games on the road, including Thursday night's wild 124-117 overtime win at Denver. But they'll have to navigate the next week without three of their top seven players in terms of minutes played.
Prior to the flight to Dallas on Friday, the Mavs learned of a positive coronavirus test for a player and two more players who were exposed and expected to quarantine for seven days, according to Shams Charania. His report states the two players who were contact-traced have tested negative for COVID-19 and all three are still in Denver.
We now know, thanks to multiple reports, that the three Mavs players currently quarantined in Denver right now are Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson—three key players in Rick Carlisle’s rotation. This isn’t the way the team wanted it to happen, obviously, but it looks like rookies Josh Green and Tyrell Terry could potentially see meaningful action against Orlando.
The Magic, meanwhile, are looking to fill the void of starting point guard Markelle Fultz, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL on Wednesday. To build on the Magic's 6-2 record, they’ll look for rookie guard Cole Anthony to step up.
DONCIC'S DEFENSE: Yes, you read that correctly. In Denver, Doncic's defense shined as he became the first player in NBA history to achieve the following stat line: 38 points, 9 rebounds, 13 assists and 5 steals.
CLUTCH KLEBER: Down one point with 2.4 seconds left in regulation, Doncic found Maxi Kleber for a wide open three-pointer that put Dallas ahead, 109-107. The game went to overtime with a Jokic jumper at the buzzer, but the Mavs outperformed the Nuggets in the extra period to grab the victory.
MAGIC FROM THREE: The Magic are thriving guarding the three-point line. Orlando's opponents are averaging a league-low 10.1 made threes per game and have shot 32.3 percent from beyond the arc through Orlando’s first eight games (third best in the league).
FUN FACT: The Mavs have won eight straight matchups against the Magic at the AAC.
MAVS INJURY REPORT: Trey Burke (illness) is out; Kristaps Porzingis (right knee surgery) is out.
RECORDS: Dallas Mavericks (4-4) vs. Orlando Magic (6-2)
WHEN: Saturday, January 9, 2021, 7:30 p.m. CT
LOCATION: American Airlines Center - Dallas, TX
TV/RADIO: Fox Sports Southwest, ESPN 103.3
FINAL WORD: "I think my defense is growing day-by-day," said Doncic after recording five blocks vs. Denver. "I'm just trying harder, not letting anyone affect me, trying my best. I think it's going to grow every game."