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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Orlando Magic

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Despite losses in two of their last three and Tim Duncan's extended knee concerns, the Spurs remain a force at home. They'll look to get back to their winning ways with a game tonight against the visiting Magic.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. Orlando Magic

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
February 1, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Spurs time
TV: FSSW Radio: 1200 AM WOAI

Spurs fans may be feeling their faith tested a bit after deflating losses to contenders Golden State and Cleveland. It's not an unsurprising reaction given the highs of a month ago and the team's gaudy point differential, but there is a case for measured optimism and a reminder of the end goal. Long distance flights are prone to a bit of turbulence, after all.

The timing for this shaky performance couldn't be better in some ways, as the Spurs gear up for the annual vision quest that is the Rodeo Road Trip. San Antonio has one more week of home cooking to enjoy before embarking on that eight-game stretch next Tuesday.

One aspect of fans' fealty that likely remains untouched is the team's ability to handle below-average teams in the friendly confines of the AT&T Center, where the winning streak now sits at 25 -- or 34, depending on who you ask. Either way, it's a figure that should be extended tonight against a struggling Magic team.

Orlando had lost 12 of their previous 13 games before pulling off a five-point win over the Celtics last night, but they still come in as a team that lacks consistency -- especially in finishing games strong. For as energetic as they are, the Magic's lack of spacing and three-point shooting continue to limit both their upside and margin for error. They may have the worst-shooting backcourt in the NBA in Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo, and the pairing hasn't yet transformed the team into the defensive force they would've ideally hoped.

That said, there is talent on this team across most positions, and it's always fun seeing how they hold up against a wily team like San Antonio. Vucevic is always a handful in the post and coming off the pick and roll, and Tobias Harris and Aaron Gordon help make them a very dangerous team in the open court. Off the bench, Evan "Jamais Google" Fournier is having an excellent year as a scorer and could help Orlando keep this game close.

Timmy will miss another game due to his knee. I've slotted Boris Diaw into the starting lineup -- more of a shot in the dark as to how Pop wants to match up against the active 20-year-old Aaron Gordon, who's been moved into the starting lineup over the last few weeks. Boris is no speed demon, but should be able to keep in between Gordon and the basket better than, say, David West.

Matchup to watch: The Spurs' execution versus Orlando's energy. On the second night of a back to back, the young Magic should still be able to push the pace of the game. If so, the Spurs will need to be sharp on offense and bring their usual, peerless transition defense.


San Antonio Spurs (39-8)

Orlando Magic (21-25)

February 1, 2016

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

7:30 PM CST

TV: FSSW

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Elfrid Payton

Danny Green

SG

Victor Oladipo

Kawhi Leonard

SF

Tobias Harris

Boris Diaw*

PF

Aaron Gordon

LaMarcus Aldridge

C

Nikola Vucevic


Game prediction: Spurs by 18.

For the Magic fans' perspective, check out Orlando Pinstriped Post

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.