Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 125, San Antonio Spurs 89

The Orlando Magic opened their preseason with a game that was sure to encourage everyone. A rout of the San Antonio Spurs where everything went right.

Final
Orlando Magic
125
San Antonio Spurs
89

The final score to a preseason game is meaningless. Much less, the first preseason game.

Teams value different things and look to achieve different goals out of each game. They do not always match up. And the final score can get warped with teams playing their deep bench players. So that final score does not matter.

The things you can expect in a preseason game are sometimes sloppy play and experimenting. Players will test themselves.

What coaches are really looking for is a competitive spirit, attention to detail and a willingness to learn and be coached in the midst of a game. The short bursts of brilliance do not mean anything if they cannot be sustained or repeated.

And, to repeat, the score is the least important thing. Although nobody complains if you win.

Nobody would complain that the Orlando Magic defeated the San Antonio Spurs 125-89 in their preseason opener at AT&T Center on Saturday. It would be hard to complain about how they won it either.

The Magic got off to a blistering start offensively. After faltering a bit, their bench and depth took over. Then Orlando kept the foot down on the pedal when the starters returned. The Magic held the lead throughout the entire second half. Then they expanded it.

In a 41-point third quarter, Orlando charged past San Antonio with a 24-2 run. Markelle Fultz capped it with a one-handed jam off a pass from Mohamed Bamba.

Everyone had a hand in building that lead, whether it was Mohamed Bamba running the floor or Terrence Ross warming up and draining threes or, yes, Markelle Fultz working his way into the lane. The Magic, as they have wanted to get their defense to feed their offense.

Orlando put it all together. In exactly the way they wanted.

Granted, there were still problems to point out. The Magic committed 15 turnovers — three from D.J. Augustin and four from Markelle Fultz. The Spurs’ starters played only about 15 minutes together. The Magic built their lead largely against the reserve players.

Orlando will have plenty to work on to keep their defense consistent. But the Magic seemingly could feel good. They worked their offense, got good shots and scored a big win.

What more could you ask for?

Fultz finished with six points on 3-for-8 shooting. He missed both of his 3-point attempts — but just taking them felt like an accomplishment. He added four assists, but also had four turnovers. There is some rust to knock off. But Fultz clearly has a good sense of the game. He keyed the Magic’s 24-2 run and made a lot of plays on both end to get them there. This was a good first step.

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MARKELLE FULTZ

G, Orlando Magic

B+

All eyes were on Markelle Fultz in this game. It was the first time he stepped onto a NBA court since November of last year. And his much-talked-about injury and issue were at the forefront. Orlando Magic fans were anxious to see him play — although seemingly much more supportive than any fan base.

Fultz getting back onto the court was something everyone waited for. Just to see what he would look like, not even to put those top overall pick expectations on him. This was a long time coming and it was hard not to feel impressed. Fultz seemed just happy to be on the court, but he still played effectively.

Fultz finished with six points on 3-for-8 shooting. He missed both of his 3-point attempts — but just taking them felt like an accomplishment. He added four assists, but also had four turnovers. There is some rust to knock off. But Fultz clearly has a good sense of the game. He keyed the Magic’s 24-2 run and made a lot of plays on both end to get them there. This was a good first step.