Spurs Take Down Magic


The Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs played in what has to have been the best NBA game of the season so far. It was a back-and-fourth throughout the game and featured incredible 3-point shooting, especially from the Spurs. They shot a scorching 12-of-19 (63.2%) from beyond the arc while the Magic went 9-of-18 (50.0%) from downtown. The Magic took a 92-91 lead on a Dwight Howard hook shot with 3:25 to go but the Spurs ended the game a 15-5 run to win 106-97, earning their 11th straight victory. The loss drops the Magic to 9-4.

  • Dwight Howard was an absolute beast, as usual. With the Magic trailing by 5 with 2:16 left in the third quarter, Head Coach Stan Van Gundy put Howard back into the game and the Magic ended the quarter on a 10-2 run to take a three-point lead. Howard made another big impact on the defensive end. Not only did he protect the paint but he blocked 2 shots, collected 3 steals and pulled down 18 rebounds. He also did work on the offensive end, putting up 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting.
  • The Magic again had some turnover issues, giving it away 16 times, including a few in key situations down the stretch, but Howard limited his, turning it over just twice.
  • Jameer Nelson didn’t play quite as well against the Spurs as he has been lately, but he was pretty good. He scored 15 points and dished out 5 assists.
  • Vince Carter had a night to forget for several reasons. Not only did he score just 8 points on 2-of-6 shooting but Carter was injured in the fourth quarter and never returned. The Magic had trouble creating any kind of shots and forced to take several inefficient jumpers. The team should have been running their entire fourth quarter offense through Howard with Carter out but he did not get enough touches down the stretch.
  • Van Gundy said Carter injured his knee.
  • The Spurs’ backcourt of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker lit the Magic up. The two combined for 49 points on 17-of-32 shooting, hit 5 3-pointers, dished out 19 assists and grabbed 9 rebounds. The Magic had no answer for either player and even had to double Ginobili down the stretch at times. Ginobili also had a decisive 3-point play that virtually sealed the game.
  • As stated above, 3-pointers were the key to the game for the Spurs. Forward Matt Bonner scored 15 points on 5 3-pointers (8 attempts). Brandon Bass was ineffective on the defensive end trying to cover Bonner.
  • Rashard Lewis seems to be finding his stroke. After scoring 21 points on Saturday, Lewis got off to a hot start Monday, scoring 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
  • The Magic bench put up decent numbers, scoring 32 points. J.J. Redick led the way with 11 points and 4 assists. Redick’s improved play is a positive you can take from the game. Mickael Pietrus also played well, scoring 9 points on 3 3-pointers. He hit consecutive 3’s during Orlando’s third quarter run and made a huge late game block, but couldn’t capitalize, missing a 3-pointer on the other end.

Next Up: The Magic will return home to take on the Miami Heat Wednesday night.

Final Thought: Tough loss for the Magic but it was a very fun game to watch, arguably the game of the year so far.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com) and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).