The San Antonio Spurs blew the Magic, 104-77, holding them to 48 points over the final three quarters and handing the Magic their seventh straight loss.
Rudy Gay paced the Silver and Black with 19 points. And a surging Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 26 points, nine rebounds, and three assists in 29 minutes.
- We got a 48-minute preview of what the Spurs might look like in a post-LaMarcus Aldridge/DeMar DeRozan era, and it was at the very least an intriguing exercise for the what-if you handed the keys to the young core crowd. It shouldn’t be a surprise that San Antonio blew out a Magic squad that was short eight players, but it was still refreshing to see them take care of business. The Silver and Black flashed tantalizing defensive prowess, and even though they don’t own an explosive offense, getting DeMar back should make them more dynamic.
- Watching the Dejounte Murray and Derrick White backcourt combination share the floor for an extended period brought a smile to my face. We didn’t get much of it a season ago, and they were spectacular on the defensive end. With neither being a knockdown three-point shooter, the spacing remains awkward at times. That said, both made some solid cuts to the hoop, and they have shown continued improvement beyond the arc. Fans should be excited to see what this duo can now that they’re fully healthy and have 40 games to build chemistry.
- Fans have been clamoring for PATFO to make a move for Nikola Vucevic since San Antonio announced a mutual separation from veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge. And the Montenegrin center’s 26 point masterclass in inside-out efficiency shows why that’s both reasonable and utterly ridiculous. Any team would be lucky to have the two-time All-Star on their side, but it’s obvious the Spurs lack the assets to put a legitimate package together without giving up several members of their young core. Would PATFO pull the trigger on that sort of trade if it doesn’t push them into title contention? Probably not.
- Keldon Johnson got San Antonio started with a beautiful finger-roll, which marks the 12th time the second-year forward has scored the opening bucket of the night for the Spurs. The Kentucky alumnus leads the Silver and Black in this obscure statistic, and while it may not correlate with individual or team success, it certainly shows how integral the rising star is to their game plan. And regardless of the outcome, you can always count on Keldon to bring energy and intensity to every second he spends on the floor, and he got the limited capacity crowd on their feet with a resounding dunk down the heart of the defense.
- San Antonio has outscored their opponents by a league-leading 143 points in the second quarter this season, and they padded that stat by holding the Magic to just 10 points while scoring 31 of their own in the second period. Stifling team defense, 11 points from Dejounte Murray, and a 10-0 run to end the frame drove a massive turnaround for the Spurs.
- The Silver and Black officially welcomed fans back into the AT&T Center for the first time in more than a year, and perhaps their presence gave the good guys some early jitters as San Antonio had little luck putting points on the board to open up the first quarter. Orlando got ahead 10-2 in the first four minutes and nearly doubled up the Spurs 16-29 in the opening frame.
- Although Rudy Gay took a while to get going, he never looked back once he got on a roll. The veteran combo forward dropped 19 points in 20 minutes and further solidified his newfound status as one of the NBA’s premier bench players. His two block and singular steal were a welcome addition to his usual offensive contributions, and this might have been his best overall outing of the season.
- Devin Vassell returned to the court for the first time since four positive COVID tests forced San Antonio into a basketball hiatus following their Valentine’s Day matchup with the Charlotte Hornets. His first possession was a drive and kick assist on a Lonnie Walker IV three-ball, and the rookie looked well-conditioned and confident throughout his late-first-quarter stint.
- The Fiesta jerseys are a perfect celebration of San Antonio’s diverse cultural background, so it’s no wonder why the throwback merch has flown off the virtual shelves. You don’t have to look for long to find some vibrant Spurs apparel on social media, and you likely saw Dejounte Murray rocking that signature orange, pink, and teal on his feet against the Magic. Lucky for you, New Balance announced a city-edition-inspired shoe collection earlier today, and you can own a pair of these colorful kicks for the low-low (very expensive) price of $140 starting March 15.
New Balance is releasing the “My City”TWO WXY on March 15: pic.twitter.com/42KhyK84QT— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) March 12, 2021
For the Magic fans’ perspective, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post.