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Spurs 104, Magic 77: What’s left of shorthanded Magic struggle offensively

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Vooch couldn’t do it by himself as the undermanned Magic dropped their seventh straight

NBA: Orlando Magic at San Antonio Spurs Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was terrible.

But that is what happens when you are without half of your roster, and when playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and when facing a top-10 defense, and when nobody other than Nikola Vucevic can hit a shot, and when turning the ball over far too much.

Add it all up and the Magic - without Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, James Ennis, and of course, Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Issac - had their lowest scoring game of the season as they were routed by the Spurs, 104-77.

Things actually started well for the Magic as they got off to a quick start (and kept things somewhat close until the fourth). They took an early 10-2 lead on a three by Dwayne Bacon just under four minutes into the game. Nikola Vucevic made five of his six attempts from the field in the quarter, scoring 11 points to help the Magic take a 29-16 lead after the first. The Magic held the Spurs to 25 percent shooting in the quarter as they struggled to convert in the paint.

Then the offensive trouble began. The Magic were held to just two points over the first half of the second quarter as the Spurs opened on a 15-2 run to even the score at 31. Orlando would shoot 26 percent in the quarter, missing all seven of their threes while not getting to the line in the quarter. Their 10 points in the second was a season-low for points in a quarter. They had fewer field goals in the quarter (5) than turnovers (8), which were converted into nine easy points for the Spurs. San Antonio closed the second on a 14-2 run, with Dejounte Murray attacking the basket and scoring 10 of his 13 first-half points in the quarter to send the Spurs into the break up 47-39.

The Magic were held to only four points over the final 5:30 of the second, all scored by Vucevic. Vooch had 17 first-half points on 8-for-12 shooting, while his teammates combined to go just 8-for-26 (30.7 percent). The Magic connected on just 5 of 17 three-point attempts in the half (29.4 percent), and got to the line only four times (making two). They finished the half with 12 turnovers.

Keldon Johnson added 11 first-half points for the Spurs, who led by eighth despite shooting just 35.4 percent from the field, including 4 of 16 from three (25 percent).

Chuma Okeke, making his first career start, got on the board two minutes into the third when he was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit all three free throws. On the next possession, he drained a three, pulling the Magic within 53-45.

That was the start of an 11-1 Magic run that pulled them within 54-50 with 6:36 to go in the third. But back-to-back threes by Patty Mills and Rudy Gay late in the quarter helped push the Spurs lead back into double digits, and they went into the fourth with a 74-64 advantage.

With Vucevic on the bench to open the fourth, Gay scored seven points during a 9-0 Spurs run, giving them their largest lead of the game to that point at 83-64. It would only grow from there, reaching 29 at one point. The Magic were limited to 13 points in the fourth to seal what was their lowest scoring game of the season (eclipsing the 84 they scored in a loss to the Knicks in January).

Vucevic had 26 points on 12-for-18 shooting. The rest of the Magic combined to go 17-for-62 (27.4 percent). Add them together and the Magic shot 36.3 percent from the field, to go along with 18 turnovers. Bacon had 15 points but needed 16 shots to get them. Okeke struggled with his shot in his first start, finishing with 8 points on 2-for-9 shooting.

Gay had 19 points in 20 minutes off the bench to lead the Spurs, who were shorthanded themselves without DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Magic suffered their seventh straight loss. They’ll try to snap that streak on Sunday night when they host a surging Heat team that has won nine of its last 10 games.