The Magic can’t catch a break. First, they had to fight off the flu. Next, they went 1-3 on a west coast trip. Soon after, they overhauled their roster and didn’t have a chance to practice together until Wednesday. What do they get next? A visit from the NBA’s best team (record-wise), the San Antonio Spurs.
These two teams met in San Antonio on November 22nd with the Spurs winning 106-97 in what was one of the better NBA games of the year so far.
The Spurs enter the game with a 25-3 record and have now won 10 straight games after defeating the Denver Nuggets in San Antonio 109-103 Wednesday night. The Spurs have no player averaging over 19.7 points per game but are extremely balanced – they have five players scoring at least 11.3 points per game. The Spurs are first in offensive rating (113.2) and ninth in defensive rating (103.5)
The Magic, on the other hand, are reeling. They have lost four straight games an eight of their last nine to drop their record to just 16-12.
The game will be shown locally by FSN and nationally by TNT. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
Tip off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 8:00 pm EST.
The Line: Orlando – 2.5
San Antonio Spurs
The officials will be Mike Callahan, Tony Brown and Mark Lindsay.
Opponent To Watch: Manu Ginobili, G – Ginobili is the Spurs’ leading scorer, going for 19.7 a night on 45.7% shooting. He’s healthy and is playing at very high level. He’s getting to the basket often and is usually able to finish or kick to an open shooter – the Spurs hit 12 of their 19 3-point attempts in back in that November 22nd meeting. Ginobili scored 25 points and hit three timely 3-pointers in San Antonio’s win over Orlando earlier this season.
What To Watch For: The last time these two teams met, it was one of the better games of the season. The Magic had a fourth quarter lead but the Spurs came away with a nine-point victory led by incredible 3-point shooting. The Spurs are still playing at a high level but the Magic are struggling and will give San Antonio a completely different look this time around. The Magic now at least have a practice under their belt so there should be a few more plays on offense, a little bit of a better understanding on defense and less nerves from the new players. That should result in improved performance but with such a big shakeup, we’ll have to wait and see if that is truly the case.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com) and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).
Tags: Brandon Bass Dejuan Blair Dwight Howard Gilbert Arenas Greg Popovich Hedo Turkoglu J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson Manu Ginobili Orlando Magic Richard Jefferson San Antonio Spurs Stan Van Gundy Tim Duncan Tony Parker