By John Denton
November 28, 2012
ORLANDO – As it turns out, the teacher versus pupil battle along the sidelines in the Orlando-San Antonio game wasn’t the only such contest in play Wednesday night.
Using its pinpoint passing and surgical execution, the veteran-laden Spurs taught the young, upstart Magic a thing or two about elite-level basketball at the Amway Center. And Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, who learned much of what he’s trying to impart on the impressionable Magic from San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, hopes that his Orlando squad was paying close attention to the lessons taught on Wednesday night.
San Antonio hit six first-half 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater from of all people veteran center Tim Duncan, to blow out to a big lead before coasting to a 110-89 defeat of the Magic before 17,271 fans at the Amway Center.
``Those (San Antonio) guys have been together a long time, but the positive thing to come from this is not necessarily the score or the way the game was played but the willingness of our guys to understand what winning basketball looks like,’’ Magic guard Arron Afflalo said of learning from the Spurs. ``It does not happen the next game or the next day, but the building blocks do. Those things are contagious and it could move us in a positive direction if we come together and make it happen.’’
The night was a disappointing one for the Magic (5-9), who hoped to build off the momentum of Sunday’s well-played overtime thriller against the Boston Celtics.
Orlando also wanted to prove its mettle against another elite team what with it being in a stretch of games against Boston, San Antonio, Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Spurs (13-3) shot better than 50 percent for three quarters of the game and pushed the lead to as much as 25 points in the second half.
Four of the Magic’s five wins this season had come after they were trailing at the half, but they never had a serious run in them on Wednesday as the Spurs hit one back-breaking 3-pointer after another throughout the game. The Spurs made 11 3-pointers and their famed ``Big Three’’ of Manu Ginobili (20 points and six 3-pointers), Tony Parker (14 points and eight assists) and Duncan (15 points) combined for 49 points. Gary Neal added 19 points for the Spurs, who were able to rest their veterans most of the fourth quarter before facing the Miami Heat on Thursday in South Florida.
``This is all learning for us because we have a lot of new guys and second-year players,’’ Magic point guard Jameer Nelson. ``Every time we step on the court there’s going to be learning and every time we step in a film session there’s learning. We just have to translate this to the game situations.’’
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
Follow John Denton on Twitter here