The Orlando Magic gave an effort that was worthy of praise from head coach Stan Van Gundy but just couldn’t put the ball in the basket and saw their five-game losing streak come to an end at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs in overtime, 85-83.
The Magic were again involved in another sloppy game that was difficult to watch. With Manu Ginobili still out for the Spurs, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson out for the Maigc, the Magic playing their third game in three days and the Spurs playing for the fourth time in five days, that came as no surprise.
You knew what you were getting from the start – Orlando (7-of-24) and San Antonio (4-of-16) shot a combined 27.5% from the field in the opening quarter.
For the game, the Magic shot just 33.7% and 19.0% from beyond the arc while the Spurs wound up shooting 42.9% from the field and 11.8% from downtown.
The Magic had plenty of opportunities to win the game. After J.J. Redick tied the game with two free throws on consecutive possessions, the game went to overtime. The game continued to go back and forth before Gary Neal’s three-pointer gave the Spurs the lead with 28.2 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession, Von Wafer drove the lane, hit a layup and was fouled, but he missed the free throw. After Richard Jefferson hit one of two free throws, the Magic had the ball again. Following a Ryan Anderson missed three-pointer, Howard kicked the ball out to Redick, who took one dribble and drained a three-pointer just a few tenths of a second after the buzzer.
“I legitimately thought I had time to take the dribble and get the shot off,” Redick explained.
After the game, Van Gundy took all of the blame.
“Our guys made a great effort, played extremely hard, played very well defensively,” Van Gundy told reporters. “Had I done a couple of things differently, we might have walked out with a win.”
- Van Gundy said he wished he went back to Doward down low rather than going with the high pick-and-roll down the stretch. He also was upset he didn’t tell the club to me more aggressive with Tony Parker’s pick-and-rolls earlier in the game. He went to call Orlando’s effort “tremendous.”
- Van Gundy called Howard’s performance “fabulous.” Howard had 24 points 25 rebounds while shooting 9-of-15 from the field and 6-of-10 from the line.
- The Magic went in planning to play 10 players and I’m sure Magic fans cringed a little when they saw Earl Clark, Larry Hughes and Chris Duhon in at the same time. Hughes, however, played a good defensive game and gave the Magic nearly 30 minutes of playing time. Impressive for a guy who hasn’t been playing at all. When I asked Van Gundy about Hughes, he said “its great to have a guy like that” and went on to praise his professionalism.
- Von Wafer did miss a big free throw that could have tied the game, but at times he was the only player who could get the ball in the basket. Wafer started off the game by hitting three three-pointers before eventually cooling off. He became more aggressive as the game went on and wound up with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
- J.J. Redick make big plays in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime and was clearly the most upset player afterwards, telling the media he didn”t believe in moral victories, calling them “bull****.”
- Jameer Nelson was terrible from the field. When you go 2-of-16 like Nelson did Wednesday, there is no other way to describe your performance.
- Ryan Anderson couldn’t shoot either (3-of-13) but he got himself to the line 10 times, made all 10 free throws and also grabbed 11 rebounds to go with 17 points.
- Tony Parker was incredible in the fourth quarter, hitting his first seven shots he took before ultimately missing an attempt at that game winner thanks to fantastic defense by Howard.
Next Up: The Magic will host the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night.
Final Thought: The Magic gave a great effort playing for the third consecutive day, but as Redick said, there are no moral victories.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Chris Duhon, Dejuan Blair, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Greg Popovich, Hedo Turkoglu, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Kawhi Leonard, Larry Hughes, Manu Ginobili, Matt Bonner, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Richard Jefferson, Ryan Anderson, San Antonio Spurs, Stan Van Gundy, Tiago Splitter, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Von Wafer