The Orlando Magic won their fifth game in a row when they defeated the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night to improve to 10-3 on the season. Things will get a lot tougher when they welcome the San Antonio Spurs to town Wednesday night. The Magic will not only try to make it six in a row but they’ll be attempting to make it a perfect 3-0 during their back-to-back-to-back.
The Spurs (9-5) remained winless on the road (0-5) after being blown out by the Miami Heat 120-98 Tuesday night. The Spurs held a 14-point lead at the half.
The Magic have been the most efficient offense in the league so far (106.4) but are 18th in defense (100.7). The Magic play at the 24th fastest pace in the NBA (92.4). The Spurs are sixth in offense (105.3), 22nd in defense (103.4) and play at the 16th fastest pace (94.0).
Tip-off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST. The game will be shown locally by Sun Sports.
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.
The officials for this tonight’s games are Jason Phillips, Curtis Blair and Pat Fraher.
The Line: Orlando – 5.5 (196.5u)
San Antonio Spurs
Hedo Turkoglu Quentin Richardson
*Jason Richardson remains out with a bone bruise in his knee.
The San Antonio Spurs are a perfect 9-0 at home but have not won a road game (0-5), including a blowout loss at the hands of the Miami Heat Tuesday. The Magic, on the other hand, have dropped just one home, a 97-83 loss to the Chicago bulls just under two weeks ago.
Both teams will likely show signs of fatigue. This will be Orlando’s third game in three days while the Spurs will be playing for the third time in four days and for the second night in a row.
Both of these teams have made the mark in this league over the last several years as defensive-minded teams who always rank near the top in every statistical category. This year has been different. The Magic are first in offense while the Spurs are sixth and both teams rank in the bottom half in defense so far.
Manu Ginobili is San Antonio’s leading scorer (17.4 points per game) but he remains out after hand surgery. Tony Parker (16.0 points, 7.5 assists per game) is the second-leading scorer and it’s going to be up to Jameer Nelson to slow him down. Rookie Kawhi Leonard has filled in for Ginobili and has played well, averaging 8.2 points per game, including 13.0 points per game over his last six.
35-year old Tim Duncan continues to head towards the end of his career and is averaging a career-low 12.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He still should provide some trouble for Ryan Anderson, who has struggled on the defensive end. We could see more of Glen Davis, who subbed in for Anderson on defense during the final minutes of Tuesday’s game. Plus, Duncan could get Dwight Howard into foul trouble should he cover him for an extended period of time. DeJuan Blair, another power forward, is averaging 11.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Defensively, the Spurs haven’t provided much resistance this season and shouldn’t be able to slow down the league’s top offense in Orlando. The Spurs don’t have a lot of size or fouls to throw at Howard so he could be in for another big night.
Although the Spurs are coming off of a blowout loss and are yet to win a road game, this would be an impressive victory for the Magic.
(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)
Tags: 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