San Antonio Spurs 107, Orlando Magic 97

Carlos Arroyo of the Orlando Magic walks with his hands on his head during the Magic's 107-97 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Carlos Arroyo looks none too pleased during the second half of the Magic's game against the Spurs on Tuesday night. Arroyo scored 17 points, but the Magic fell to the Spurs, 107-97.
Photo by Phelan M. Ebanhack, the Associated Press

When Jameer Nelson (chin contusion) and Hedo Turkoglu (sprained wrist) went down in the first period -- here's John Denton's report -- our guys knew they had to step up, and they did:

  • Keyon Dooling responded off the Magic bench with 19 points.
  • Carlos Arroyo added 17.
  • Rashard Lewis put together another fine game and played Hedo's usual role of aggressor, with 24 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the line.
  • Dwight Howard piled-up 24 points and 21 boards on the league's best center.

But not even those fantastic offensive efforts were enough to hold-off the defending champion Spurs. We held an 8-point lead in the third quarter before San Antonio scored 15 straight points, quickly silencing what was a raucous Amway Arena crowd and demonstrating why it has won four of the last seven NBA titles. We had no answer for Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, or Michael Finley (?!), wasting an unusually solid bench effort -- our reserves outscored the Spurs', 42-40 -- and an uncharacteristically horrific shooting night from Tony Parker (4-of-13).

Our guard play undid us tonight. Arroyo and Dooling scored alright themselves, but our other guards combined to score 11 points (3-of-15 FGs, 2-of-6 3FGs, 3-of-7 FTs) in 63 minutes. Sure, Jameer Nelson's absence skews that figure a bit, but that doesn't change the collective ineffectiveness of Keith Bogans, Maurice Evans, and J.J. Redick. On the other end, Finley's corpse played out of its his body mind, scoring the first 2 points of the game -- and the first 2 of his season-high 24 -- on a give-and-go with Tim Duncan. The Magic are obviously taking notes on how to run their offense through a big-man, but Dwight has neither the court vision (to pass out of the post effectively) nor the shooting touch (to keep defenses honest when he's pushed off the block) to be a viable post playmaker in the Bill Walton/Lakers Shaquille O'Neal/Duncan mold.

This loss drops us to 46-27 on the season and losers of 3 out of our last four games... and 0-2 in games I predicted we'd win. Hopefully, a few days' rest will get us going again, as we have to get motivated to face the Bucks on Friday night. Hedo and Jameer, we're counting on you two to get healthy.

Other notes

  • It was a night for season-highs. In addition to Finley's and Dooling's scoring outputs, Evans posted a career-high 7 assists.
  • Howard had another 20-20 game, his first since March 1st versus New York. His previous 20-20 effort came February 13th versus Denver. Perhaps not coincidentally, Stan Van Gundy called Howard out before that game as well.
  • The Spurs were called for 18 fouls and the Magic were called for 25, yet the Magic shot more free throws.
  • Evidence that the plus/minus stat doesn't accurately tell the whole story when it's applied to only one player: Howard was a minus-14 and Arroyo a minus-15; Parker was a game-best +19. Don't trust it unless it's applied to a unit of players.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this game on the whole, though. On the one hand, we only lost to the World Champions by 10 points even though we were without two of our top-four players; on the other hand, it took superhuman efforts from Arroyo, Dooling, Howard, and Lewis -- not to mention an impressive 41-35 rebounding advantage -- just to pull to lose by 10... at home... when we shot more free throws. Your thoughts?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Orlando Pinstriped Post

You must be a member of Orlando Pinstriped Post to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Orlando Pinstriped Post. You should read them.

Join Orlando Pinstriped Post

You must be a member of Orlando Pinstriped Post to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Orlando Pinstriped Post. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker