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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Orlando Magic

The Spurs can push their winning streak to double digits with a win over the visiting Orlando Magic tonight.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs Orlando Magic

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Date: 11/29/16, Time: 7:30 PM Spurs Time

Aaron Gordon went 0-for-12 from the field in the Magic's Sunday-night loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. There are plenty of issues with the way this weird team's been constructed and how it plays, but the struggles of their former lottery pick, now being asked to play out position in his third year, underlie many of them.

Orlando's front office spent the offseason attempting to overhaul the team's defense, hiring Frank Vogel, signing Bismack Biyombo to six times what the Spurs are paying Dewayne Dedmon and sending Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and their 2016 first-round pick to the Thunder for one year of Serge Ibaka. Even if they're able to re-sign Ibaka (which will cost a lot), the bigger issue with these moves may be that they created a huge logjam at the power forward and center positions. The team already had Nikola Vucevic as the presumed starting center, and it was looking fairly obvious that their most promising young player, Gordon, played much better at the four than the three.

Hello Serge, our old friend

Ibaka's a familiar foe for the Spurs. He's unsurprisingly enjoying a big uptick in usage from his days in OKC, but his days of being a defensive monster appear behind him. After averaging 3.7 blocks in 2011-12, he's seen that number decline every year. It's now down to 1.5, as his game keeps hovering away from the basket.

Still, the Magic are a better team when Ibaka's on the floor, and the spacing he provides is a big part of that. Gordon doesn't have the shooting touch of a typical three, and Elfrid Payton is at less than 20% from deep while taking a career-high 2.4 attempts per game.

Who's starting for Orlando?

In their loss to the Bucks, Vogel benched Payton and Vucevic in favor of D.J. Augustin and Biyombo. He also brought Gordon back into the starting lineup after moving Jeff Green up a few games earlier. Vucevic off the bench would make sense, due to his defensive limitations and the fact that he could go to work on second-unit big men on the other end.

Busy night for the Spurs frontcourt

I don't think the Magic are a particularly good team, but they've got a lot of options in the frontcourt, and the Spurs -- who are probably going to be without Dewayne Dedmon again (**Update: Dedmon WILL be available tonight**) -- don't. Orlando can make things interesting by pounding the paint and taking advantage of that thin line. If that opens things up for the rest of their offense, I don't hate their chances of making this game interesting.

The Spurs are off to Dallas tomorrow night for a SEGABABA, which leaves open the usual questions concerning someone getting the night off. I'd say the Vegas line is a bit on the high side given the possibility they may struggle with the Magic bigs, plus the chance of a big night from someone like Augustin (including even Augustin himself!), but I still expect a Spurs win in the end.


San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 14-3)

Orlando Magic

(Record: 6-11)

November 29, 2016

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

7:30 PM CDT



Tony Parker


Elfrid Payton?

Danny Green


Evan Fournier

Kawhi Leonard


Aaron Gordon?

LaMarcus Aldridge


Serge Ibaka

Pau Gasol


Nikola Vucevic?

Vegas line: Spurs by 12.

Game prediction: Spurs by 10.

For the Magic fans' perspective, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

As always, PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. But if you're not able to log in here, you can try the Fanvana app which helps connect sports fans and was created by a fellow Spurs fan. Check out the free app on iOS or Android to discover other Spurs fans and join the live chatter for tonight's game. You can follow PtR's tweet stream directly on Fanvana as the game unfolds.