Spurs Outshined by Magic

By Dick Scanlon, for NBA.com
Spurs @ Magic
March 17, 2010
Amway Arena // Orlando
San Antonio Spurs (40-26)
Orlando Magic (48-21)

M. Ginobili
Points: 18
Ast: 3
Reb: 3
R. Jefferson
Points: 20
Reb: 6
Ast: 3

ORLANDO (NBA.com exclusive) -- The Orlando Magic have developed a nasty of habit of running opponents out of the gym. Wednesday night's 110-84 rout marked the fifth time this month they have blasted a team by 21 points or more.

This time it was the San Antonio Spurs, who came in with a pretty good resume and seemed to be hot, having won eight of their last nine, the only loss by two at Cleveland.

The Spurs were never in this one.

Vince Carter scored 16 of his 24 in the first quarter and the Magic (48-21) built a 20-point lead in the first half of what might have been the worst game of Tim Duncan's long and distinguished career.

"Just a bad game, mostly myself," said Duncan, who finished with five points on 1-for-10 shooting. "It kind of starts with me. We got caught in a rotation early and missed some shots, but I just didn't play well."

Duncan and the Magic's Dwight Howard got into early foul trouble and played less than 25 minutes each. But Howard's neutralization was barely missed by the Magic.

"They started making a lot of shots in the third quarter we kind of gave up," said Manu Ginobili, who scored 18 for the Spurs. "We made a good run coming from 20 [behind] to 10 at the end of the second, but we just couldn't hold it. I don't know if we were just tired and a had a bad game, too, but they are good." Better than good, according to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

"I think they're built for championships," he said. "They've got everything that it takes. They've got an inside game obviously, they've got a perimeter game to go with it. The 3-point shot is very important in winning championships, the inside game is important. They have the depth that's necessary and defensively, they're leading the league in field-goal percentage defense, and if you don't play 'D', you don't win championships.

"So they've got all the elements there. It's a matter of being consistent and being focused and going out and getting it done, and I think they have the capability to do that."

It was easy to see how he got that impression Wednesday night. All 12 Magic players scored and their 52 percent shooting included 10-for-23 from behind the arc. Rashard Lewis shook off a slump with 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

"It's not about who makes the most points, it's who has the open shot gets the ball," said Carter, who had a season-high eight assists. "I think we've done a great job of exploiting different situations throughout the course of the game. We knew Dwight probably wouldn't have a great night scoring, but it was important for us to give him the ball to draw those double teams."

A couple of 3-pointers by Matt Bonner in the final minute of the first half helped the Spurs (40-26) cut the margin to 10 at halftime. But Carter and Jameer Nelson scored all the points on a 9-0 run early in the third that turned the game into a rout.

Duncan made a 12-foot hook for San Antonio's first basket of the game, then missed his next nine shots. In his 13-year career, Duncan's worst shooting game until Wednesday night had been 1-for-8.

"He missed easy shots like those bankers from the left side that he always sinks," Ginobili said. "Today they were not going in and things happen ... he's going to bounce back next game for sure."

Richard Jefferson led the Spurs with 20.

The Magic, who play at Miami on Thursday night, clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday.

Mickael Pietrus left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle.