If the NBA didn't have a trade deadline, Friday night's matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic would probably be getting quite a bit of media attention considering that Dwight Howard had the Texas team on his list of hopeful destinations. Instead, almost unfortunately, the narrative will be based on something more relevant as both teams trying to build momentum on their way to the NBA Playoffs.
The Magic sit comfortably in third place of the Eastern Conference standings with a 32-19 record heading into Friday night's game. Dallas doesn't sit quite as easy as their 29-23 record is only good for sixth place in the Western Conference -- good enough for a playoff spot, but not quite good enough to keep them from worrying about missing the postseason as they're only two games ahead of being out of contention at this point in the season.
The Mavs probably won't have it easy against the Magic on Friday night in a game scheduled for an 8 p.m. tip-off on ESPN, but it all depends which team arrives at the Amway Center in Orlando. The Magic are 4-4 in their last eight games, which isn't anything out of the ordinary, but all eight of those games have been decided by at least 10 points in one direction or the other with the last being a 108-86 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
Dallas doesn't bring any momentum into Friday night's game, either. The Mavericks lost by 21 points to the Miami Heat on Thursday night as they were able to secure just 29 total rebounds in a 105-86 defeat. Age may finally be catching up them, unfortunately, considering Jason Kidd took sole possession of 10th place for all-time games played in the NBA while fellow starts Shawn Marion and Vince Carter are showing their age, too (Note: Dirk Nowitzki is immortal, apparently).
It'll be interesting to see what happens on Friday night, but the Mavericks obviously have more to fight for considering they can't afford many losses the rest of the way or their playoff hopes will be on the line for the rest of the season.
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