"If they shoot the ball the way they normally do, we lose this game," the Orlando coach said after the 111-106 victory Friday night. "We got outplayed. They just didn't shoot the ball as well as we did."
Terrence Ross scored 22 points and Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Magic to their 11th win in 16 games and keeping them right on the edge of an Eastern Conference playoff berth. They have not qualified for the playoffs since 2012.
"We just played sloppy, defensively, offensively, (no) taking care of the ball," said Aaron Gordon, who scored 18 points and blocked three shots. "We just weren't locked in. He (Clifford) expects more from us and we expect more from ourselves."
Orlando shot .483 percent overall, compared to Dallas' .472. But the big difference was in 3-point shooting as the Magic shot .483 to the Mavericks' .294.
"We won tonight, but it wasn't a good enough performance," Evan Fournier said. "It wasn't satisfying. It doesn't feel like a great win. We have to play better."
Luka Doncic had 24 points and eight rebounds for Dallas, which has lost four straight and nine of 10. Jalen Brunson added 18 points and nine assists.
Dirk Nowitzki scored nine points in the fourth quarter and finished with 15, matching his season high in his 21st and final NBA season.
The Magic took a 19-point into the fourth quarter before Nowitzki and Doncic led a late charge to get the Mavericks back in the game in the final two minutes.
"When you get down 19 at any point in an NBA game, the odds of coming back and winning are very difficult, especially on the road," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "You've either got to play close or play from the front. We had a poor start. Second half we did better, but we've got to stay in the fight."
Ross made four 3-pointers in the first half and the Magic made eight of 15, taking an 18-point lead on a three-point play by Gordon in the final seconds of the half.
Doncic scored three baskets on the Mavericks' 16-7 run to start the second half, reducing Orlando's lead to six. But Jonathan Isaac, Vucevic and Ross answered with 3-pointers in a span of 52 seconds and the Magic's lead was back up to 19 by the end of the third quarter.
Mavericks: Nowitzki got a standing ovation when he entered the game with 2:09 left in the first quarter. It was the 1,505th regular-season game of his career. ... Dallas has given up 101 or more points in 12 straight games, an average of 116.4 per game. ... The Mavericks beat the Magic by 25 points on Dec. 10.
Magic: An MRI revealed that G Isaiah Briscoe has a torn right meniscus. Briscoe will see a doctor before deciding whether to have surgery. "I'll have to evaluate the long-term possibilities," he said. ... Friday night's game was the first of seven straight against losing teams. ... The crowd of 19,196 was the ninth-largest in franchise history.
Mavericks: Host Houston on Sunday night.
Magic: At Memphis on Sunday night.
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