The Magic made it a back-and-forth final stanza with a 12-0 run and then held off San Antonio to steal the win. Orlando was led by Evan Fournier (26 points) and Terrence Ross (20 points). Despite a solid shooting night from DeMar DeRozan (21 points and 5 assists), Rudy Gay (14 points) and Patty Mills (13 points), San Antonio lost its fourth in a row.
- One of the Spurs’ obstacles to a road win was removed prior to the game as Magic forward Jonathan Isaac sprained his ankle earlier today during Orlando’s uniform reveal.
- Sean Elliott pointed out that teams have given up early on their young players when referencing Orlando’s former first-round picks Markelle Fultz and Michael Carter-Williams. We only have to look at the development of Bryn Forbes from unheralded unknown to chiseled key contributor as evidence that San Antonio continues to get it right when it comes to development. A Bryn pull-up jumper is as close to automatic as we can expect now.
- Dejounte Murray confidently converted a pretty pull-up midway through the second quarter and later crossed over his defender on the left baseline in transition for a picturesque jumper. These were a welcome sight and hopefully a harbinger of good things to come.
- Trey Lyles stealthily positive contributions were detailed late last week. With his combination of rebounding and improved floor spacing capabilities, which former Spur big would you compare him to? I dismissed Francisco Elson due to disparity in athleticism; however, the three frontcourt people that came to mind were Fabricio Oberto, Robert Horry, and Dewayne Dedmon.
- Since his arrival in San Antonio, we have seen DeMar DeRozan on the short end of numerous missed calls at the rim and in the paint. I wonder if he, at 6’7” 220 lb., would get more favorable calls if he were closer to Rudy Gay’s size (6’9” 240 lb.)? If there is an example to follow for DeRozan later on in his career to remain relevant as a scorer, it may be Orlando’s Terrence Ross, who has flourished in a sixth man role. Ross caught fire later in the second half to net his season-high in points.
- And how cool was HEB’s “Retirement Ranch” commercial - and especially Tim Duncan’s presentation of the ATV (“All-Tony Vehicle” as Manu quipped) to Tony Parker at the end of the minute-long celebration of the franchise’s all-timers? It got me thinking that any vehicle presented to Ginobili would have to be coined the Batmobile, right?
- I went back through team history to find examples of when a San Antonio team performed well below expectations and settled on the 1983-84 Spurs who went 37-45. Those Spurs took on the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals the previous two years and valiantly fell short to their more talented foes. Despite bringing back the same core of George Gervin, Mike Mitchell, and Artis Gilmore in 1984, the collective wheels fell off for a team that ranked second in offensive scoring with two 20-point scorers, but basically conceded all of those points back on the other end (22nd) and performed terribly on the road.
- Did San Antonio start slow again? An emphatic NO! The Spurs leveraged 59% shooting (50% from 3), and led by DeRozan, Forbes, and Patty Mills, netted a handful of deflections and steals to get going on transition and lead by seven after one. Rudy Gay and Mills pushed the lead out to 40-27 on a 9-0 run. The Spurs succumbed to second-chance opportunities, and the Magic were able to keep this game from turning into a blowout. The Spurs went into the half ominously up by nine despite outshooting Orlando 55%-37%.
- Early season foibles, turnovers, poor rebounding, and foul trouble beset San Antonio early in the third quarter, which allowed the Magic to retake the lead after a 12-0 run. LaMarcus Aldridge converted three jumpers after starting 0-6 from the field to keep Orlando at bay briefly before picking up his fourth foul. The Spurs’ bench, keyed by Jakob Poeltl’s and Derrick White’s timely inside-outside contributions, turned around what had been a disastrous period, and they escaped the stanza up by three.
- In the closing minutes, Orlando went on 12-0 run to briefly take a five point lead. A Lyles three and DeRozan tied things up going into the final minute. Fournier countered with his fourth three-pointer, while Lyles converted a difficult tip to close the deficit to one. On a controversial foul call with seconds remaining, Aaron Gordon was hacked by DeRozan at the rim and the referees ruled it a ‘Flagrant 1’ foul - resulting in two free throws and retained possession for Orlando. Vucevic followed with 1 for 2 at the line, while the Spurs expended ten seconds before a Gay three. The Spurs appeared to foul with more than 0.3 left, but the Magic made one last free throw.
The Spurs return home for the back end of their SEGABAGA (and THIGAFONI to boot) tomorrow evening with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, newly-signed Carmelo Anthony, and the Portland Trail Blazers. Tip-off will be at 7:30 PM CT on FSSW.