San Antonio Spurs Bench Steps Up As Team Secures Playoff Berth in Win Over Orlando Magic
By Jay Desai
The San Antonio Spurs secured their 18th straight playoff berth on Wednesday night, beating the Orlando Magic 103-91 on the road.
The Spurs, who were playing their second game in as many nights, could not seem to find the offense from their starters, evident by San Antonio’s starting-five finishing with only 34 combined points.
Luckily for San Antonio, their bench came through big time, providing the other 69 points on their way to victory.
Orlando was able to keep within striking distance early as they trailed by only four points at the end of the first quarter. The middle two quarters were a different story, however, as Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich elected to give more playing time to his bench, resulting in San Antonio out-scoring the Magic 59-41 over those two quarters.
Now that the game is over, let’s take a look at our studs and duds of the game, along with key statistics.
Studs of the Game
San Antonio Spurs
With the bench playing such a key role in this victory, it’s only fair to give the stud of the game award to a reserve. Aron Baynes was a huge reason the Spurs defeated the Magic, playing his heart out on the way to 18 points and five rebounds. The Australian big man was a nightmare for Orlando to contain, also making his way to the free throw line eight times, hitting all eight attempts.
Even though Orlando was clearly out-matched on paper, that did not stop Magic star Victor Oladipo from giving his all on Wednesday night. The Orlando star was all over the court against the Spurs, evident by his 24 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Oladipo also created problems for San Antonio’s two-guards, especially Marco Belinelli who finished 4-of-12 from the field.
Duds of the Game
San Antonio Spurs
For a second straight game, Danny Green was non-existent, finishing with only three points, 1-of-3 shooting, and two rebounds. Sure he was once again only on the floor for 15 minutes but Green needs to do a better job of being productive even when playing limited minutes. It was not just his offense that was atrocious, however, Green was disappointing defensively as he struggled to contain Oladipo.
Andrew Nicholson gets the Magic’s dud of the game award with his pitiful performance off the bench on Wednesday. Over-matched talent-wise, Orlando needed all the help from their bench that they could get if they were to beat San Antonio. Nicholson did not really aid in that department, struggling on his way to a 1-of-7 night for only two points. Throw in the fact that the former second-first round pick played a bench high 17 minutes and you can see why he is deserving of this award.
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69: That’s the number of points the Spurs bench combined for on Wednesday against the Magic. While San Antonio’s bench struggled the previous night against Miami, they held up well against Orlando, being a major reason that the Spurs were able to pick up the win.
12: That’s the difference in free throw’s made between both teams, favoring San Antonio. The Spurs offense was not clicking well on Wednesday but their ability to get to the line, better than the Magic, was able to push them over Orlando. Coincidentally, the final margin also happened to be 12 points.
40.7: That’s the Spurs shooting percentage in this game. Luckily for San Antonio, they were able to overcome their poor shooting by holding on to the ball, 10 turnovers, and getting to the line often, 23 attempts. Even though the Spurs won on the heels of poor shooting, that does not make this percentage acceptable. When San Antonio plays the West’s best, they are going to have to do a better job of putting the ball in the hoop.