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GIF Breakdown: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic

Defense edition

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A strong defensive stand in crunch time propelled the Spurs to victory on the night that the Spurs got their captain back after eight games off. Surprisingly, Tim Duncan, the defensive "center of the universe" for the Spurs, was not on the floor in down the stretch for the good guys. Instead it was a lineup of Patty Mills, Danny Green, Rasual Butler, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge that closed the game out by putting the clamps down on the Magic. A defensive review.


Normally if Rasual Butler is on the floor with four minutes to play in the fourth quarter the Spurs are cruising to an easy victory. You won't see it in the box, which shows a 0-1-0-0-1 line, but Rasual Butler made the most of his five minutes on the floor and proved to be a deep-bench asset. Nikola Vucevic is turned away at the rim.

Kawhi poked the ball away here and the Spurs got to set their defense again. Note that had Kawhi not been able to get back into the play, LaMarcus and Butler were both all over the play. This would have left Aaron Gordon open in the corner but consider that Evan Fournier was easily Orlando's best player last night and a crafty scorer at the hoop while Gordon shoots below 30% from deep.

Danny Green missed six of his eight deep-ball attempts on Wednesday night but played a nice all-around game, finishing with a 12-5-2-0-1 line and a +7 on the night. Green forces a turnover here with excellent on-ball pressure.

And Danny picks up a key block with sublime timing.

This might have been my favorite play of the game. At their best the Spurs just make it a nightmare for their opposition to score and I can almost feel the frustration of Oladipo and the Magic as Danny just harasses the home team.

Patty Mills doing Patty Mills. How many guys in the league are better at messing with an inbound pass?

LaMarcus, who has been on a tear since deleting his social media accounts, joins the defensive party and turns Fournier's attempt away.

Rasual Butler led the Spurs in plus/minus with a +8. Here's a big block, that he did not get official credit for, that has Tim Duncan fired up. It must feel pretty good to have Timmy shake you because you did something great.

This team is so easy to root for.