The Orlando Magic put up a terrific fight against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday before losing control of the game in the second half, falling by a 121-112 final. Tony Parker and Manu Ginóbili led a balanced Spurs offensive attack, scoring 30 and 24 points, respectively, as six San Antonio players reached double-digits.
Nik Vučević won his individual matchup against San Antonio center Tim Duncan, tallying 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Magic. Tobias Harris came off Orlando's bench and scored 13 of his team-high 23 points in the first half.
Orlando built a 61-59 lead in the first half because it took care of the ball and got production from its bench: the Magic committed just two turnovers, resulting in no Spurs points, and got 27 bench points before intermission. Because of the talent deficit the Magic face on a nightly basis, they have a low margin for error. In the first half Saturday, the Magic played within that margin of error and challenged the defending Western Conference champs.
A layup from Arron Afflalo layup with 2:45 to play in the half gave Orlando a seven-point lead, its largest of the night, before the Spurs responded with a 7-0 run. Afflalo closed the half with a three-pointer off a Maurice Harkless steal to put the Magic up two.
The game changed in the third quarter as Orlando's offense went cold for the first time: it converted only 38.1 percent of its shots, with Afflalo's 0-of-5 mark contributing to that icy figure. The Spurs, in contrast, kept up their balance and efficiency, shooting 50 percent from the floor. Role-playing swingman Danny Green made back-to-back threes early in the period to put San Antonio up two. Orlando tied the game just once from there.
The Magic kept the game close in the fourth quarter, with Harris leading the second unit and keeping the Spurs from blowing the game open until roughly the 3:15 mark, when Ginóbili tipped in a Duncan miss to put the Spurs up by 10. A corner three-ball from Patrick Mills precisely two minutes later gave San Antonio a 15-point edge and prompted both teams to empty their benches, but make no mistake: this game was much closer than its outcome might suggest.