San Antonio Spurs 110, Orlando Magic 89: The Spurs get what they want, when they want it
The Orlando Magic is not a talented basketball team; a scan of the team’s roster tells you that right away. Since hiring Jacque Vaughn, the team plays hard and punches above its weight, but it’s still young and looking for skilled players. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Spurs. A talented team with vast experience and players who know their own system so well. The major differences in these teams were readily apparent in San Antonio’s 110-89 win over the Magic on Wednesday night.
Case in point: Manu Ginobili. Manu was the game’s high scorer with 20 points. All of his points came from either behind the 3-point line or from the free throw line. Ginobili shot 6-9 from the 3-point arc (in fact, Manu never officially attempted a 2-point field goal) and 2-2 from the free throw line.
How Manu Ginobili scored his points was a microcosm of the Spurs’ offense against the Magic. San Antonio got shots in the exact areas they wanted versus Orlando. When a Spur hoisted a shot, chances are it came from either the paint, 3-point line or the free throw line. The Magic, on the other hand, launched a lot of mid-range jumpers and long 2s. Glen Davis loves the 18-foot jump shot and the Spurs made other players for Orlando become just as big of fans. Orlando attempted 11 more field goals than the Spurs overall, but 10 fewer 3-point attempts.
When you throw in the fact that the Spurs made 11 3-pointers to Orlando’s two and San Antonio had an effective field goal percentage of 58.9% to the Magic’s 44.2% and, well, you can see how the margin of victory grew quickly.
The Spurs are a veteran team that knows how they want to play, what shots they want to get and how to win ballgames. They also know how to encourage teams to lose games, offering them up the shots that Gregg Popovich and Co. are comfortable with allowing. On Wednesday night, the Orlando Magic were happy to take what the defense gave them. The problem was, the Spurs were offering nothing more than crumbs of offensive efficiency.
Some notes from the Spurs’ big win in Orlando:
- Like the win against Washington on Monday night, the Spurs were able to get a comfortable lead late in the third quarter and rest the core players for most, if not all, of the fourth quarter. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker sat out the period completely, while Ginobili played under three minutes. It remains to be seen how much the Spurs’ big three will play against Miami on Thursday night. San Antonio will be playing its fourth game in five nights and have a big game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. Don’t be surprised if Coach Pop shuns the national media and rests some of his guys. Then again, with the ease with which the Spurs dispatched Orlando, they may have bought themselves some wiggle room against the Heat.
- Boris Diaw was a maestro in this game. Always in play-making mode, Diaw made pass after pass to set up teammates for scores. Boris finished with five assists in his 22 minutes against the Magic. Sometimes my mind wanders and I try to imagine how good Diaw would be if he kept himself in the shape of a “physical specimen” like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. But if he did that, he just wouldn’t be Boris Diaw, would he?
- Tim Duncan with 15 points on 7-11 shooting and five blocks (only four rebounds) versus Orlando. I’m curious if he’s doing enough in this early season to garner the All-Star votes to put him in position to be named a starter for February’s event in Houston. We’ll have to see if his production falls off anytime soon, but I would think that if he keeps up this level of play, he would earn enough votes to be named one of the front court players in the All-Star game.
Advanced stats from this game courtesy of NBA.com/Stats