By John Denton
April 3, 2013
SAN ANTONIO – There are times when it seems as if the San Antonio Spurs can simply plug anyone into their lineup as superstars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili rest nagging injuries and the flow never misses a beat.
Heck, even the Spurs’ famed mascot, The Coyote, got in on the act on Wednesday night by drilling an underhanded shot from halfcourt during a fourth-quarter timeout. And the rest of the time it was lesser-known players such as Danny Green, Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter bedeviling the Orlando Magic as Duncan, Parker and Ginobili looked on from the sidelines.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn is a product of that Spurs’ system – both on the playing and coaching sides – and he hopes that, in time, his squad filled with five rookies and three second-year will morph into something similar to the well-oiled Spurs.
Orlando stayed in the game for more than three quarters on Wednesday night by getting contributions from all over its roster, but eventually the experienced and efficient Spurs pulled away for a 98-84 victory at the AT&T Center.
Orlando (19-57) had six players score in double figures and the Magic had one of its best stretches of defense in weeks early in the game, but it was unable to avoid its third straight loss. A 15-2 run by San Antonio in the fourth quarter ultimately did in the Magic.
``They’re just a team that has been there, done that over and over again, and they were able to capitalize on our small details,’’ Vaughn said. ``Those things matter on every possession. Really good teams like San Antonio put you in a position when you have to (execute) over and over again.’’
San Antonio – owners of 14 consecutive 50-win seasons – improved to 56-19 when Danny Green (20 points and four 3-pointers) and Gary Neal (16 points and four 3-pointers) did their best impersonations of Parker and Ginobili. Parker sat out while resting for a Thursday showdown with Oklahoma City, while Duncan (five points and four rebounds) played only a half. Ginobili is out for four weeks with a hamstring strain.
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