Dallas Mavericks

Second-half lineup change sparks Mavs to slump-busting win

Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell, middle, splits the defense for Orlando’s Evan Fournier, left, and Mario Hezonja during Tuesday’s Dallas victory. Ferrell had 12 points in the third quarter.
Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell, middle, splits the defense for Orlando’s Evan Fournier, left, and Mario Hezonja during Tuesday’s Dallas victory. Ferrell had 12 points in the third quarter. AP

Rick Carlisle blamed slow starts for the Dallas Mavericks struggles of late. But he wasn’t prepared to change the starting lineup going into Tuesday’s game against the Orlando Magic.

“I’ve looked at it and looked at the possibility of changing of it,” Carlisle said in his pregame news conference. “Changing it would open up other challenges that would probably be greater. We just simply have to do better. I know we can. This is a challenging situation that we’ve got to just work through.”

Well, that mindset changed at halftime. Trailing 48-43, Carlisle inserted Yogi Ferrell into the second half starting lineup for Maxi Kleber and it sparked the Mavericks to a much-needed 114-99 victory over the Magic.

With Ferrell getting the nod and Dirk Nowitzki showing signs of his old self in the final half, the Mavs had an impressive finish to the game. They had a 39-point third quarter and never let the Magic closer than four points in the fourth quarter.

“We needed more quickness in the game,” Carlisle said. “Yogi came in and really changed the game.”

Ferrell had 12 of his 15 points in the third quarter, and ended up salvaging what had been a disheartening homestand. Nowitzki matched his season-high with 20 points, including 15 in the second half. Dennis Smith Jr. also had 20. The Mavericks had a season-low four turnovers, including one in the second half.

The Mavs had lost the first three of the four-game homestand by a combined 10 points. They weren’t going to let another one slip by in a battle of NBA bottom feeders.

This is a Mavs team that seemed to have everything working its way early on. After all, they were facing a reeling Magic team that has now lost 14 of its last 15.

And the Magic began the game without its best player, Aaron Gordon, whose punishment for violating team rules was being left out of the starting lineup. Gordon entered with 5:31 left in the first quarter and ended with 19 points.

The Mavericks (14-28) took advantage somewhat.

They went on an early 16-2 run and had a 20-11 lead with 3:32 left in the first quarter. But they weren’t able to sustain it as the Magic (12-29) rallied for a 48-43 lead at halftime.

The Mavs were outrebounded 30-19 and shot just 31.2 percent from 3-point range in the opening half.

That prompted the shift to Ferrell and the move worked for the Mavs. Ferrell’s best shot might have been late in the third quarter.

Gordon made a highlight-reel play as he tipped an offensive rebound to himself multiple times. On the fifth tip, Gordon secured the ball and dunked over Mavs center Salah Mejri with 1:19 left. Gordon was fouled and completed the three-point play to pull Orlando to within 78-72.

But Ferrell answered on the Mavs’ next possession, knocking down a 19-foot step-back jumper.

“He’s such a hard worker that confidence is something that comes pretty naturally to him,” Carlisle said of Ferrell. “He always finds a way to fit in because he goes hard and he maximizes his minutes. Tonight we couldn’t have won without him.”

His teammates followed that lead the rest of the night, answering every time the Magic tried to get back in it.

Maybe a lineup change is all it takes sometimes.

Orlando

19

29

27

24

99

Dallas

25

18

39

32

114

Orlando

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Hezonja

26:48

5-9

2-2

4

1

14

Simmons

20:22

1-7

1-1

1

4

3

Biyombo

21:34

3-6

0-0

8

3

6

Fournier

34:56

6-14

0-0

4

4

12

Payton

23:18

3-7

0-2

2

2

8

Gordon

32:40

6-16

6-8

8

3

19

Augustin

23:28

5-8

4-4

3

1

18

Speights

21:28

5-8

1-2

10

4

13

Iwundu

16:35

1-2

2-3

2

0

4

Afflalo

16:23

1-2

0-0

0

1

2

Mack

1:14

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Birch

1:14

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

240

36-79

16-22

42

23

99

Percentages: FG .456, FT .727. 3-Point Goals: 11-29, .379 (Augustin 4-5, Payton 2-2, Hezonja 2-4, Speights 2-5, Gordon 1-7, Simmons 0-2, Fournier 0-4). Team Rebounds: 9. Team Turnovers: 13 (4 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Speights 2, Biyombo, Fournier). Turnovers: 13 (Biyombo 3, Payton 3, Augustin 2, Speights 2, Fournier, Gordon, Hezonja). Steals: 2 (Hezonja, Payton).

Dallas

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Barnes

36:25

5-9

3-4

6

1

15

Kleber

4:33

1-2

0-0

1

1

2

Nowitzki

24:04

6-13

7-7

3

1

20

Matthews

33:11

5-10

4-5

5

4

16

Smith Jr.

33:31

8-19

2-2

7

5

20

Ferrell

33:09

6-9

1-1

8

2

15

Barea

24:48

4-8

0-0

2

1

8

Powell

22:51

3-4

1-2

3

4

7

Harris

13:35

2-5

0-0

1

0

4

Mejri

10:02

3-3

1-1

2

2

7

McRoberts

2:37

0-1

0-0

0

1

0

Collinsworth

1:14

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

240

43-83

19-22

38

22

114

Percentages: FG .518, FT .864. 3-Point Goals: 9-26, .346 (Barnes 2-3, Ferrell 2-3, Smith Jr. 2-5, Matthews 2-6, Nowitzki 1-3, Harris 0-1, Kleber 0-1, McRoberts 0-1, Powell 0-1, Barea 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Team Turnovers: 4 (0 PTS). Blocked Shots: 2 (Mejri, Smith Jr.). Turnovers: 4 (Barnes, Ferrell, Matthews, Mejri). Steals: 6 (Barnes 2, Harris, Kleber, Matthews, Smith Jr.). Att.—19,306 (19,200). T—2:07. Officials—Leroy Richardson, Jason Phillips, Sean Corbin

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