This isn’t the NFL or college basketball; it's a long season and things change. Anyone calling this game between the 4-0 San Antonio Spurs and the 3-1 Orlando Magic a “statement game” going in was a prisoner of a moment.
But somehow, the Magic turned it into one. Their 27-point victory over the Spurs will go down as one of the biggest regular-season wins in franchise history – if there is such a thing.
No one saw this coming. Not Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who summed up his team's performance by saying "I just, I don't know. That makes no sense."
It was a rout from the start. After trading buckets from the onset, the Magic grabbed the lead just over five minutes into the game and never gave it back.
The well-rounded performance carried throughout the entire Magic team, who held the Spurs to 34 points at halftime while finishing the night shooting 57 percent from the floor.
The Magic, who entered the game leading the league in three-point percentage, stayed hot by hitting 11-of-23 from deep for a 47.8 percent average.
On defense, Orlando moved cohesively. They aggressively attacked loose balls and rebounds, turning 19 Spurs turnovers into 27 Magic points – the exact margin of victory.
The Spurs, who shot 33 percent from the field for the first time since February 8, 2015, were stumped on the offensive end of the floor. Their bench shot 24 percent, and the starters didn’t fare much better.
Veteran center Bismack Biyombo and rookie forward Jonathan Isaac were instrumental in the effort, using their length and athleticism to anchor the second unit and prevent a run.
On the performance, Biyombo said “It does not [happen every day]. People can say they were missing shots but like I said in Cleveland, we were playing really, really good defense. I think that as we continue to beat all of these big teams, who knows what will happen?”
Equally instrumental in the energy and defensive intensity of the Magic’s win was former Spur Jonathon Simmons. Simmons took it to his former team to the tune of 17 points – and they were loud ones. He showed off his athletic finishing and isolation scoring abilities, the likes of which made him an appealing free agent last offseason.
“He’s been able to get to the paint a lot and draw a lot of fouls,” said Magic center Nikola Vucevic on Simmons, “He just brings that aggressiveness on both ends of the floor and that’s something we need.”
The Magic (4-1) will look to defend their first-place record in the Eastern Conference when they hit the road for a back-to-back against the Charlotte Hornets and New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday and Monday.