Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 111, Magic 96

How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks got off to a phenomenal start and finished strong -- which more than made up for a poor middle two quarters.

Dallas lit up the 15-39 Orlando Magic for 42 points in the first quarter and led by as many as 16 points early in the second. However, the Mavs let Orlando get back in the game with a 16-4 run. The deficit at the half was only six points.

The Mavs followed that up with a miserable start to the second half. Orlando took the lead a little more than three minutes into the half and led by six at one point in the third quarter.

That’s when O.J. Mayo breathed life back into the American Airlines Center with a spectacular sequence of a blocked shot that led to a transition lob to Vince Carter. That sparked a quarter-ending 10-3 run that featured eight of Carter’s 14 points and gave the Mavs the lead for good.

The Mavs scored 17 consecutive points in the fourth to turn the game into a blowout.

Carter, who also had a season-high eight assists, was one of six Mavs who finished in double figures. Elton Brand and Shawn Marion led the Mavs with 17 points apiece.

What it means: The Mavs (24-29) didn't mess up an absolute must-win against a team with the NBA’s second-worst record. This kept Dallas 4½ games behind the eighth-place Houston Rockets, who beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-119 on Wednesday. The Mavs improved to 12-2 against teams playing the butt end of back-to-backs at the American Airlines Center this season.

Play of the game: Mayo pinned a layup attempt by J.J. Redick on the glass to ruin a 2-on-1 fast break, pushed it up the floor in transition and delivered a 30-foot lob to Carter, who finished with a two-handed flush. That sparked the run that gave Dallas the lead for good.

Stat of the night: The Mavs set a new season high for points in a quarter with 42 in the first. They were 16-of-25 from the floor in the quarter and had eight players score, led by Brand’s nine points. The Mavs combined for 41 points in the next two quarters.