Magic Dominate Spurs


In a matchup of two of the hottest teams in the NBA, the Orlando Magic dominated the San Antonio Spurs from start to finish. After a fairly close first quarter, the Magic opened up a 20-point lead on an obviously tired Spurs team. The Spurs closed the gap to 10 at halftime but the Magic ran away with the game in the third quarter. They used a 28-16 third quarter advantage to push their lead to 20 and never looked back. Vince Carter led the Magic with 24 points and 8 assists while Rashard Lewis broke out of his recent slump to score 20 points. Richard Jefferson led the Spurs with 20 points.


Basketball Stats

The Magic were excellent defensively. The held the Spurs to an effective field goal percentage of just 45.6%. The best job of the night was done on future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan. Duncan shot just 1-of-10 from the field, which is the worst field goal percentage of Duncan’s career. Dwight Howard did an excellent job in limited time against Duncan.

“I thought his defense was good,” Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said. “He played very well at the defensive end of the floor. I thought he was a huge factor in the game even though his numbers were modest.”

The Magic frustrated Duncan throughout the game, but Van Gundy said that Orlando got lucky that Duncan had an off night.

“I liked our defense on him,” Van Gundy told the media. “I thought we did a good job. And, at the same time he can make a lot of the shots he was taking and what you try to do is not make things easy and then you live with the results. But he’s a great, great player and thankfully he had a bad night tonight.”

Howard’s numbers were certainly underwhelming (9 points and 7 rebounds in 24 minutes), but Van Gundy was very pleased with Howard’s play.

“I thought he did a good job playing out of the double teams,” Van Gundy said. “He created a lot of shots for us. Even though he only had a couple of assists, a lot of times it was his pass out and one or two more passes, good ball movement, to a wide open shot.”

Howard, who used to grow noticeably frustrated with double teams, is now dealing with them better than ever.

“They doubled him all night,” Van Gundy said. “What I really liked was that he didn’t get frustrated with the fact that he wasn’t getting shots. He didn’t force things.”

Vince Carter may have had one of his best all-around games of the season. Carter scored 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting in just 30 minutes. He also grabbed 4 rebounds and really did an excellent job of getting his teammates involved. Carter got into the paint and found open shooters, dishing out a season-high 8 assists.

“It’s not about who scores the most points,” Carter told reporters after the game. “It’s just who has the open shot.”

Rashard Lewis snapped out of his recent shooting funk. Van Gundy designed some plays to get Lewis involved in the game early. This allowed Lewis to get an open look on Orlando’s opening possession and he hit the shot, an 18-footer off of a pass by Vince Carter. Lewis rolled from there. He scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Lewis said he never lost confidence during his poor shooting streak.

“Just keep shooting the ball,” Lewis said. “I didn’t worry about it at all.”

After the game, the Magic received some lofty praise from one of the best coaches in the league.

“I think they are built for championships,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said. “They have everything that it takes.”

Popovich told the Magic what they had to do.

“They have all the elements there,” he told reporters. “It’s a matter of being consistent and focused. I think they have the ability to get it done.”

Game Notes:

  • Orlando’s 26-point win was the largest margin of victory over the Spurs in franchise history.
  • Orlando is now 19-0 when they shoot over 50% from the field. They shot 52.1% on Wednesday.
  • Marcin Gortat was excellent in relief of Howard. He pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
  • The Magic have now won nine of their last 10 games.

Next Up: There’s no time to celebrate this one. The Magic travel to Miami to play the Heat Thursday.

Final Thought: It was encouraging to see the Magic blow out a playoff team with limited offensive production from Dwight Howard.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).