By John Denton
November 28, 2012
Orlando got 16 points from Afflalo, while power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis added 12 points and Nelson chipped in 12 points. The Magic, who missed 12 of their first 13 3-point shots must now try to regroup before playing a re-tooled Nets team on Friday that has already beaten them twice this season.
Vaughn, who shared an embrace with Popovich after the game, wasn’t happy about the Spurs getting 25 fastbreak points or his Magic attempting just eight free throws – and none by a starter for a second time this season. Vaughn said that his team’s focus against an elite team left a lot to be desired.
``Your effort, energy, discipline and concentration have to be at a premium, especially when you are playing premium teams, and it was especially evident tonight,’’ Vaughn said. ``There has to be an extreme focus coming into the game. You can’t afford to simply walk into the game. You have to be prepared and run into the game.’’
Following Friday’s home game, Orlando hits the road for five games over a nine-day stretch. The Magic will play the Lakers (Sunday), Warriors (Monday), Jazz (Wednesday), Kings (Dec. 7) and Suns (Dec. 9) during one of their longest- road jaunts of the season.
Down 55-41 at the half, the Magic seemed poised to get back into the game with an 8-2 spurt to start the second half. But 11 straight Spurs’ points pushed the lead back up and ensured that it would be a short night for Orlando’s starters. Rookies Andrew Nicholson, Maurice Harkless, DeQuan Jones and Kyle O’Quinn finished the game along with third-year point guard Ish Smith.
A rocky first half got even worse for the Magic after they had already retreated to their locker room for intermission. Duncan’s heave a split-second before the first-half horn was initially ruled as a two-point shot, but was overturned to a 3-point shot after lead referee Ken Mauer looked at several slow-motion replays.
It was just the second 3-pointer for Duncan in the past three years and the 28th of his illustrious NBA career. The buzzer-beating shot was San Antonio’s sixth of the first half and it put them up 55-41 at intermission. Duncan, Ginobili and Parker each had at least 12 points in the first half. Duncan scored 13 in the first 24 minutes after his two was changed to a 3-pointer.
Ginobili, the 2008 Sixth Man of the Year, showed why he is still one of the NBA’s best reserves with some red-hot shooting in the first quarter. He entered the game with 6:38 left in the first quarter and proceeded to make four 3-pointers in four shots. Ginobili’s shooting allowed the Spurs to build a 29-18 lead after one quarter.
Davis, a co-captain along with Nelson, said that Magic players have to get a better understanding of their roles and have to be held accountable for their shortcomings on the court. He said it’s up to the Magic’s veterans to set positive examples for the younger players so that they don’t have to endure too many more lessons like the one the Spurs doled out on Wednesday.
``(The Spurs) play really well together and you can tell they’ve been playing together for a long time and they are well-coached. I’m pretty sure they are the prototype way that (Coach) Vaughn wants us to play,’’ Davis said. ``Those (San Antonio) guys know their roles really well and I think we still need to find out who are our guys. And at the same time, we need to grow and find out who are our energy guys and vocal guys. Times like this we really need to bite down and check each other to see what we can do to make this team better.’’
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