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San Antonio vs Orlando, Final Score: Spurs survive the doldrums and mince the Magic 107-92

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The Spurs got off to a quick start but struggled to stop the Magic in the second and third quarter, and finally pulled away at the close with a great game from LaMarcus Aldridge and strong contributions from Patty Mills and Kyle Anderson.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs got off to a very quick start, but stagnated on offense for most of the mid-part of the game, letting a Magic team that was on the second night of a back to back take the lead in the third quarter.  The Magic were able to take advantage of Tim Duncan's absence to get about a million offensive rebounds that kept them in the game until Kyle Anderson, Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge closed them out in the  final quarter with an offensive explosion.

Game Flow:

The first quarter started with a run out by the Spurs as they rushed to a 14-0 lead in the first four minutes, as Kawhi Leonard opened the scoring with a three and LaMarcus Aldridge dominated the paint against the young Magic. Danny Green got into the act with a three and a mid-range shot, and it was looking like the Spurs might shut out the Magic.  But Orlando bounced back behind some nice defense and rebounding from Nikola Vucevic and Channing Frye.  The Magic kept pace with the Spurs for the rest of the quarter and even made up a little ground and finished up the first with the Spurs up 35-24.

The Spurs second quarter started off promisingly, as they surged to a 43-25 lead behind some hot shooting from Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili, but then the Magic went on a run of their own, and scored 11 straight points with contributions from Channing Frye and Mario Hezonja.  Pop put Ray McCallum and Rasual Butler in the game and that staunched the bleeding to an extent, but the Magic kept themselves in the game with Vucevic and Elfrid Payton.  Rasual Butler did his part for the good guys, rejecting two straight shots from Payton, leading to an empty possession for the Magic despite having enough offensive rebounds to take four straight shots on their end of the floor. Manu scored the last points of the half to stake the Spurs to a 52-44 lead.  The Magic had ton of offensive rebounds in the quarter, demonstrating how badly the Spurs missed a certain stat stuffer.

Kawhi also did his part for the good guys:

The third quarter start seemed to be kind of familiar to those of us that watched the Spurs last year.  The Magic were energized, and the Spurs were as flat as roadkill to start the quarter, and the visitors started on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 54.  And then another basket ... the Magic, who looked like they might never score at the beginning of the game were in the lead!

"We just lost our focus."--Sean Elliot

Manu and Kawhi showed some energy to counter the Magic, but the Spurs were not able to get enough stops to create any breathing room, and the Magic repeatedly erased any lead the Spurs were able to get. But Patty Mills took advantage of some screens by LaMarcus and hit a few shots, and despite giving up way too many offensive rebounds, the Spurs finished the third strong and were up 75-70 with 12 minutes to play.

Luckily, the Spurs were able to find their focus in the fourth quarter, as Kyle Anderson scored 7 points in the first 2:14, and Patty also scored to propel the Spurs to a 84-74 lead.

Mills got into the act with a 4 point play after being fouled by Elfrid Payton on a 3 point attempt, and Green, who hadn't been seen much on offense since the beginning of the game, scored a 3 pointer to stake the Spurs to a 15 point lead.

The Magic kept the game within reach with their rebounding, but didn't have the offensive firepower to stay with the Spurs.  Unfortunately, my TV receiver decided to reboot with 3 minutes left in the game, and so I missed a couple of minutes of the game.  Thanks, unnamed TV service provider who has a basketball arena named after them.

The game came back on with 33 seconds left, just in time for me to see Boban Marjanovic hit a few free throws and see the Spurs win 107-92.

Music, sort of:

I was only going to post this if the Spurs lost, but I think it does a good job capturing the fans' mood after the last couple of road games.  Hee Haw was pretty cornball, but the musicians were incredibly talented.

Final thoughts:

The Spurs record is now 40-8, second place in the Western Conference.  The Spurs are 2-2 in their last four games and still haven't lost two consecutive games yet this season. Their next game is on Wednesday in the AT&T center against Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, who have rebounded a bit from a disappointing start and are starting to climb back into contention for a playoff spot.  If Tim Duncan is still out, Anthony Davis will provide a challenge to a San Antonio defense that's missing their defensive anchor.