The San Antonio Spurs started off hot and fizzled out on Friday night in Orlando despite six players reaching double-digit scoring.
Uncharacteristically, the San Antonio Spurs were unable to snap their cold spell and dropped a fourth consecutive game, this time against the Orlando Magic. Despite the close margin in the 111-109 defeat, San Antonio gave up 64 second-half points.
Leading the way once again was DeMar DeRozan, who posted 21 points and five assists on 60% shooting from the field. He was perfect on his three free throw attempts, although the referees didn’t favor him or his team in this matchup.
He was joined by Patty Mills, who led the team in plus/minus and added 13 points and three steals. The second unit combined for 46 points with Rudy Gay accounting for 14 of them on 50% shooting and 40% three-point shooting.
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Usually a proficient and active free throw shooting team, the Spurs shot 6-of-10 from the charity stripe in the contest as opposed to the Magic’s 27-for-34 ratio at the line. A late flagrant foul call on DeRozan sealed the Spurs’ fate with just over 13 seconds remaining in the game.
Gregg Popovich returned a specific grouping that helped his team push the second-seeded Nuggets to seven games in April. As the rest of his starters headed to the bench with roughly seven minutes left in the second quarter, DeRozan stayed in the lineup with Gay, Mills, Jakob Poeltl and Derrick White.
Energetic in limited minutes as starters, both Dejounte Murray and Trey Lyles played with a lot of heart and hustle with the tandem combining for five and 15 boards respectively. Murray played just 21 minutes but managed to gather eight points, a steal and five assists in the contest.
Next up, the Spurs return home to host the Portland Trail Blazers, who they defeated earlier in the season by only three points. They’ll post another difficult test in terms of talent, but have also started off sluggishly and will look to get back into better playoff stature.