Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs (55-19) vs Orlando Magic (19-56)
Nov 28, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) attempts to make a shot as San Antonio Spurs point guard Gary Neal (14), power forward Tim Duncan (21) and shooting guard Danny Green (4) defend during the third quarter at Amway Center. San Antonio defeated Orlando 110-89. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports
I have tried, really, really hard to think about what I am going to write as far as a preview for this game. We all know that this isn’t the match-up that will get a lot of attention. The Orlando Magic who have won just nineteen games this season come into the AT&T Center to try a little Magic on the Spurs (sorry, I had to).
Even a veteran team like the San Antonio Spurs can be mentally affected by a string of close games featuring several narrow losses. A visit from the Orlando Magic ought to ease the Spurs’ minds.
After another late setback, the Spurs look to avoid their first three-game losing streak in two years and strengthen their tenuous hold on first place in the Western Conference as they host the struggling Magic on Wednesday night.
Five straight Spurs games have been decided by two points or fewer, with San Antonio (55-19) losing three of them. Prior to that stretch, the Spurs had gone 4-0 in games decided by two points or fewer this season.
After giving up a layup with 0.6 seconds left in a 92-90 loss at Memphis on Monday, the Spurs weren’t sure what to make of their recent penchant for the dramatic.
The close defeats have had consequences, as Oklahoma City has won four of five to cut San Antonio’s lead for the best record in the West to one game. Each team has eight games remaining.
Getting healthy might help San Antonio get back on track. The Spurs played without three of their top four scorers Monday. Manu
Dec 17, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on with Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) and Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha (2) against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Ginobili is out for weeks with a strained hamstring, and Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard skipped the trip to Memphis to rest sore knees. Duncan and Leonard could be available Wednesday.
The Spurs, who haven’t lost three in a row since a six-game skid March 23-April 1, 2011, have to like their chances of bouncing back against the Magic. They have won five of six in the series with those wins coming by an average of 11.0 points. San Antonio cruised to a 110-89 victory in Orlando on Nov. 28 as seven Spurs scored at least nine points.
San Antonio is 32-5 at home and 23-5 against the East.
Here is some good news. Thankfully Orlando is on our schedule and they are, really, really bad. How bad, Orlando (19-56) has dropped 10 of 11. They’ve won as many games as the Spurs have lost. They traded away their best player in the off-season.
As the Spurs are dealing with injuries, the Magic are no strangers either. Arron Affalo is out for the year. Glen Davis is hurt and Jameer Nelson is dinged up. Hedo Turkoglu missed their last game for personal reasons (probably because they don’t want to be caught on the floor with this team).
This is without a doubt a game that the San Antonio Spurs need to win. The last two games have been heartbreakers. What a game to come out, at home mind you, and completely wipe the floor with them.
One thing that I would like to put out there for Coach Pop. Can we get more dose of DeJuan Blair!? Against Memphis, his energy is what kept us in the game. Matt Bonner!? Come on! Blair is more mobile than he is. Why does Bonner pump fake when he doesn’t do anything else with the ball afterwards? When he is inside the three, he just looks lost, he doesn’t know where to go. Okay, sorry for ranting.
Yeah so, more Blair please.
Point GuardsTony Parker – Beno Udrih
Shooting GuardsDanny Green – E’Twaun Moore
Small ForwardsKawhi Leonard – Maurice Harkless
Power ForwardsTim Duncan – Tobias Harris
CentersTiago Splitter – Nikoli Vucevic
Bench PlayersNeal, Diaw, Jackson – Harrington, Quinn, Jones
When: April 3rd, 7:30 PM (Spurs Time)Where: San Antonio, AT&T CenterTelevision: FSSW Radio: 1200 WOAI (Local)