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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic

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The Spurs double-down on some Floridian hospitality, following up their Tuesday game in Miami by taking on the young Orlando Magic.

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Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Orlando Magic

Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
April 1, 2015, 6:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

If WebMD has taught me anything, it's that growing pains in one's early years are an unfortunate reality in life; sometimes the faster we grow, the more intense the sensation. And if Juwanna Mann has taught me anything, it's that basketball can sometimes mirror real life in eye-opening (but hilarious) ways.

Whether you think of the aches this Orlando team's gone through more as teething or shin splints may reflect how far these guys are from being taken seriously in the league, but it's hard to look at this roster and not see a number of promising NBA players. The collective under-performing of so much first-round talent is, after all, what led to the February dismissal of head coach Jacque Vaughn.

Rookie Elfrid Payton has been a revelation over the second half of the season, recording back-to-back triple doubles at one point and putting up averages of 14.7 points, 8,7 assists and 6.4 rebounds a game over his last 10.

Of course, gaudy stats are just that when they don't result in Ws, and the Magic have won only one game during that stretch -- last Friday against the Blazers. That win kicked off a five-game homestand which ends tonight against the Spurs.

The Magic might have a few more wins to their name if they gave more minutes to veterans like Luke Ridnour and Channing Frye. Instead, they've handed the reins of the offense over to Payton and second-year player Victor Oladipo and see  I've always thought reserve guard Evan Fournier, who'd been wasting away on the Nuggets bench for a few years,was the type of player Pop could do something with. He's found a bit more of a home in Orlando, providing a solid punch off an otherwise-uninspiring bench.

Orlando's not learned to leverage its energy and athleticism yet: its young guns don't push the pace consistently, nor do they find their way to too many easy buckets. They're in the bottom third in both three-point attempts and free-throw attempts, which often leads to the mid-range game being their savior.

The Spurs will give Elfrid Payton looks around screens, and Tobias Harris will hope to have Kawhi-esque results from midrange, where he takes a good number of his shots. If more of those rim in than normal, and if Nikola Vucevic has any sort of presence on the defensive end (he's an almost automatic 20 and 10), the Magic could make a game of it. I'm just not sure it'll happen.

With the high level of execution we've seen as of late, the Spurs offense shouldn't have trouble getting to 110 tonight, which should suffice to return home with the victory.

vs.

Orlando Magic (22-52)

San Antonio Spurs (48-26)

April 1, 2015

Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

6:00 PM CDT

TV: TNT

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Elfrid Payton

PG

Tony Parker

Victor Oladipo

SG

Danny Green

Tobias Harris

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Andrew Nicholson

PF

Boris Diaw

Nikola Vucevic

C

Tim Duncan


For the Magic perspective, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post.

Game prediction: Spurs by 14.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com

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