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Spurs 107, Magic 92: San Antonio's elite execution proves too much for Orlando

Despite overcoming another massive deficit, the Magic were unable to hold onto their lead in the second half as they were outmatched on both ends of the court.

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For the third game in a row the Magic found themselves in an early deficit, and for the third game they managed to rally in the second half.  Unfortunately, they were unable to maintain the defensive intensity necessary to contain the Spurs, who defeated Orlando 107-92.  Lamarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 28 points for San Antonio, while Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 20 points.  Aaron Gordon, continuing his run as a starter, notched another massive rebounding night, finishing with a career-best 16 on the glass in the loss.

The start of the game might have been the worst for Orlando all season, as the Spurs rocketed to a 14-0 lead in just the first 3:30 of play. The Magic's defense was poor, allowing a large number of open shots from all of the court, and the Spurs are not a team to forgive mistakes.  When they weren't bombing from outside (5-7 from 3 in the quarter), Aldrige was lighting them up from midrange, nailing 5-6 shots on the way to 14 first points.  The score might have been worse if not for 10 second-chance points by the Magic on 7 offensive rebounds, unusual against a Spurs team that leads the league in defensive rebounding percentage.  One bright spot for Orlando was the continued strong play from Gordon, who contributed 4 of those offensive rebounds and was the only player for the Magic playing with much energy.  The Magic managed to slow the onslaught of San Antonio, but still finished the quarter down 11, 35-24.

The Magic finally found some life in the second quarter, when a mainly-reserve group of Payton-Fournier-Hezonja-Frye-Smith went on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 7.  Frye hit a few catch-and-shoot 3s, and Orlando managed to get into the bonus early to get to the free throw line.  More importantly, the Magic found their defensive footing for most of the quarter, allowing just 17 points to the Spurs in the second.  They got out on those previously open shooters to force the Spurs into missing all 5 of their long-range attempts, while also forcing 6 turnovers with their active hands and smart doubles. The Magic pushed the lead all the way down to 6 before most of the Spurs starters came back in at the end to steady things for the home team, and the score settled at 52-44 going into halftime.

Orlando continued its strong play after the break, slowing whittling down San Antonio's lead until it finally belonged to the Magic, if only temporarily.  The team's energy was noticeably up across the board, as they scrambled harder and forced the Spurs to work much harder for their shots.  Victor Oladipo in particular stood out as he poked the ball away from Danny Green and recovered the ball to drive and finish a fast break.  He repeated the feat again the next possession, and continued to work hard closing out on shooters even when he wasn't getting steals, while also putting in work on the offense end of the court.  He finished with 13 of the Magic's 26 points in the quarter.  Aldridge continued to stand out for the Spurs, making tough shot after tough shot to regain the lead, which stood at 75-70 entering the fourth.

The Spurs looked to take control back early on, led by Kyle Anderson's hot shooting.  He scored 7 points in just the first 2:30 of the quarter on several jumpers to push the lead back to 12 for San Antonio.  Orlando briefly looked to stabilize as Oladipo forced his 5th steal of the night while Aaron Gordon jammed a massive putback dunk, but a 4-point play from Patty Mills and a 3 from Danny Green quickly reestablished San Antonio's lead at 15.  The Magic were unable to do much more after that, having allowed the Spurs to score on 9 consecutive possessions, and the Spurs finished things with the precise execution they're known for, with a final score of 107-92.