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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Orlando Magic

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The Spurs are barely a week removed from their previous meeting with the Orlando Magic, yet a lot has changed since for both teams.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. Orlando Magic

Amway Center, Orlando, FL
February 10, 2016, 6 p.m. Spurs Time
TV: FSSW Radio: WOAI 1200AM

The San Antonio Spurs have officially kicked off their annual Rodeo Road Trip in style, opening the eight-game trek with a 119-101 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Now they take a short ride up the Florida Turnpike to take on the Orlando Magic for the second time in just over a week, and the last game for both squads before the All-Star break. Though these teams just met in San Antonio, a lot has changed for both teams in the days since.

The Orlando Magic had won only two games in all of 2016 when they visited the AT&T Center on February 1st, and the Spurs were not gracious hosts as they pulled away from the Magic late for a 107-92 victory. The Magic sustained two more losses at the hands of the Thunder and the Clippers, but are now coming off two hard-fought wins against the Atlanta Hawks in a home-and-home series to momentarily halt what was quickly becoming a season spiraling out of control. Missing from both of those wins was Tobias Harris, seemingly an awkward fit at small forward for this team, yet someone who Scott Skiles insists on playing at small forward. Harris has been dealing with an ankle injury and will likely be questionable for this one as well, but with rumors that the Magic are open to moving him by the trade deadline, it would not surprise me in the slightest if they nudge him into the lineup. Not only is this the last game for the Magic before the All-Star break - it's also the last game for them before the trade deadline.

For the Spurs, gone is Manu Ginobiliwho suffered perhaps the worst ouchie a man in any walk of life has ever endured. Couple his absence with that of Tim Duncan, and the Spurs are getting a prematurely extended look at life post-Big Three (Duncan is technically "questionable" for this one, but with a week-long break on the horizon I'd comfortably wager my first-born that he will not be playing).

The most concerning aspect of these teams' last meeting was the way that Orlando handled the Spurs' bigs on the offensive glass. Without Duncan, Pop has shifted between starting Boris Diaw and David West on a matchup-dependent basis. Diaw got the nod against the Magic last time, presumably to spare West from the uber-athleticism of Aaron Gordon, but Gordon still racked up 16 rebounds, six of them offensive. The Spurs as a team gave up 19 offensive rebounds to the Magic, a season high for any opponent.

Though they only turned the ball over 13 times (just under their league-leading average of 13.5), the Spurs also gave up 20 points off of turnovers. The Spurs starters jumped on the Magic early, but it is these extra possessions that allow teams to stay in games that they otherwise have no business being in. Considering that San Antonio gives up the least amount of points per game off turnovers and the second fewest offensive rebounds in the league, we can all be assured of the fact that this was noticed, relayed, and driven home by Pop and his staff in anticipation of this game.

Matchup to Watch:

The Spurs' ability to box out on defense against Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and the aggressive Orlando bigs. I slotted David West into the starting lineup, if only because his toughness, rump, and elbows make it difficult for anyone to want to go at the offensive glass.

Lineup to Watch:

Will Pop pull out the Magic-killing lineup of Mills, Green, West, McCallum, and Anderson again? A group that had never seen the floor together (and haven't seen it together since) opened up the fourth quarter against Orlando, played six minutes, and were a team-leading +8 points to keep the bad guys at bay. Maybe it won't be those same five guys this time around, but keep an eye out for some wacky lineup shenanigans from the man who wrote the book on wacky lineup shenanigans.

San Antonio Spurs (44-8)

Orlando Magic (23-28)

February 10, 2016

Amway Center, Orlando, FL

6:00 PM CST

TV: FSSW

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Elfrid Payton

Danny Green

SG

Victor Oladipo

Kawhi Leonard

SF

Evan Fournier

LaMarcus Aldridge

PF

Aaron Gordon

David West

C

Nikola Vucevic


Game prediction: Spurs by 11.

For the Magic fan's perspective, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.