Gary Neal and J.J. Redick - Douglas Jones - US Presswire
San Antonio picked up its fifth straight win on Wednesday behind 11 three-point baskets.
The Orlando Magic hung tough against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday--for a few minutes, anyway--but the hot-shooting, veteran Spurs squad soon imposed its will on the Magic and cruised to a 110-89 win. Veteran sixth man Manu Ginóbili scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the first quarter, leading five Spurs in double-figure scoring in the rout. Arron Afflalo scored 16 to lead the Magic, who shot just 43.2 percent from the field and missed 13 of their 15 three-point tries.
The two teams battled to an 8-8 tie before Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called on Ginóbili, and he responded by shooting 4-of-4 on three-pointers in the remaining 6:38 of the period, pushing San Antonio to a 29-18 lead after the first quarter. Were it not for Ginóbili's long-range bombing, the Spurs might have been in trouble, though not necessarily because of anything Orlando did at either end: San Antonio's initial offense on many trips looked sloppy and disorganized.
The Magic chipped away at the Spurs' lead in the second quarter with Jameer Nelson initiating a high pick-and-roll attack that twice sent Spurs bigs sprawling to the hardwood, leading to a pair of open layups.
San Antonio built its lead to 14 off a pull-up jumper by Tim Duncan that just beat the first-half horn. Duncan's line-drive, which bucket referee Ken Mauer upgraded to a three-pointer upon video review, capped a strong Spurs rally; San Antonio scored on six of its seven possessions in the final three minutes of the first half, accounting for 14 points. During that span, Duncan's two jumpers were the only shots the Spurs took from outside the paint.
San Antonio, which entered the game ranked fifth in scoring efficiency, picked the Magic apart in the first half, despite their early struggles in initial offense. Only two of the Spurs' 55 points before intermission came from mid-range; the rest came from the foul line, in the paint, or from three-point range. That trend continued into the second, with Orlando unable to stop dribble penetration and San Antonio getting easy looks as a result.
Orlando opened the third period by making its first four shots, with Afflalo and Glen Davis sinking two apiece, but lost ground to San Antonio regardless due to some porous defense and despite San Antonio's Big Three failing to score until the 3:40 mark. Starting two-guard Gary Neal took over, scoring 10 of San Antonio's 26 points in the period; no other Spur had more than three points in the period. Afflalo had 10 points of his own in some of his best, most aggressive play in a Magic uniform, but it wasn't enough for Orlando to chip into the Spurs' lead.
San Antonio put the Magic to bed with a pair of three-pointers to start the fourth quarter, pushing its lead to 23 at the 10:46 mark. From there, the teams simply played out the string with nothing at stake. Neither Parker, Duncan, nor Ginóbili played after the 9:20 mark, and the Magic only trimmed the Spurs's lead by four points the rest of the night.
Notably, coach Jacque Vaughn had a quick hook for starting small forward Maurice Harkless. The rookie from St. John's logged only 6:20 in the first half, with Vaughn calling on fellow rookie DeQuan Jones for 5:34. Jones had not played in Orlando's previous two games. He finished with seven points and six rebounds in 19 minutes. Harkless totalled 21 minutes, but logged most of those with the game's outcome well decided.