In what was a highly-entertaining game that didn’t feature much on the defensive end, the San Antonio Spurs put and end to the Orlando’s Magic’s three-game winning streak, defeating the Magic 122-111 Wednesday night.
Jameer Nelson was excellent offensively, scoring 25 points for the second consecutive night to go with seven assists and five rebounds but he wasn’t able to out duel Tony Parker, who scored 31 points and dished out 12 assists. Dwight Howard finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in what may have been his last game in a Magic uniform.
The game was back-and-forth throughout. With just over eight minutes remaining, Hedo Turkoglu’s three-pointer. Tony Parker immediatel answered to put the Spurs back up for good. The Spurs wound up pushing their lead to 10 on a Manu Ginobili three-pointer with just under three minutes to go, essentially ending the game.
Orlando’s defense, which has looked nothing like the top five unit it has been since Stan Van Gundy arrived, continued to struggled and had their worst output of the season. Van Gundy joked the Magic “held the them 22 points over their average.” If you want to see some outrageous offensive numbers, just take a look at what the Spurs put up – they posted an offensive rating of 135.7, shot an effective field percentage of 59.6%, had a free throw rate of 27.7% and grabbed 26.8% of all available rebounds. You just can’t beat a team defending like that.
The hero of the night was Tony Parker. Much like he did in the first meeting, Parker took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 31 points on 6-of-7 shooting. For the game, Parker, who got into the paint with ease at times, was 12-of-21 from the field and dished out 12 assists.
Offensively, the Magic clearly didn’t have too many problems. In comparison, they posted an offensive rating of 121.9 and posted an effective field goal percentage of 58.7%.
Jameer Nelson picked up where he left off Tuesday, scoring his 25 points on 9-0f-15 shooting. Nelson did a good job of getting into the paint, but also was on fire from long distance, shooting 5-of-7 from beyond the arch. Nelson, who has admitted the Dwight Howard drama has really bothered him, appears to be over it, at least on the court.
Speaking of Howard, if it was his final game in a Magic uniform, it came with mixed results, although there was certainly more good than bad. Howard had 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting, but went just 4-of-10 from the line. He grabbed 12 rebounds, but that’s more than three less than his average. Plus, the Spurs got too many good opportunities in the paint, something Howard usually prevents.
- The Magic, playing without Jason Richardson and Earl Clark, played just eight players – their starting five plus Glen Davis, Quentin Richardson and rookie DeAndre Liggins.
- Ryan Anderson had another good game, putting up 19 points and eight rebounds.
- Hedo Turkoglu looked engaged early, but he just couldn’t knock down enough shots, going 2-of-7 from beyond the arc. He scored 17 points but it took him 16 shots to do it.
- The Magic won’t make excuses, but they were missing a starter and playing on the second night of a back-to-back – those are very difficult obstacles to overcome.
Next Up: The Magic will host the New Jersey Nets Friday night. Interesting storylines indeed.
Final Thought: Was this the last game of the Dwight Howard era?
(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 Ish Smith J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson Kawhi Leonard 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