ORLANDO – The win over the Celtics in Boston a couple weeks ago was impressive, no doubt. But, Sunday’s victory in San Antonio was arguably the Magic’s best performance of the season so far.
On both ends of the floor and for a big portion of the 48 minutes, the Magic were in sync. They repeatedly passed up good shots for great shots. They forced the Spurs into costly turnovers, particularly early in the third quarter when the Magic went on a tear. They showed us why they have a chance to be a top 10 – perhaps even top five – defensive team when all is said and done. They stayed composed even when San Antonio caught fire in the fourth.
Maybe the best part of the win was that there wasn’t just one star of the night. Everyone made a difference – some with timely shots and hustle plays, several with their smooth 3-point stroke and others with defensive toughness and tenacity.
Aaron Gordon matched his season high with 26 points and made a crucial driving layup with just under two minutes left. Early in the third, he had a stretch of 13 points in a span of about four minutes.
Terrence Ross was hot from downtown, making three consecutive triples late in that Magic-dominated third period.
Excellent passing from D.J. Augustin, who also saved a ball from going out of bounds to preserve a possession at a critical juncture of the game, and Evan Fournier kept Orlando sharp. The Magic’s starting backcourt combined for 14 of the club’s 29 assists.
Wes Iwundu, starting in place of the injured Jonathan Isaac (ankle), was pesky defensively.
Like Gordon, Nikola Vucevic also connected on a big shot in the waning moments, a left-handed driving layup with 1:28 remaining.
Mo Bamba was spectacular around the basket, flushing home a few thunderous dunks and recording his first career double-double.
Outscoring the Spurs 18-1 in fast break points was probably the night’s most intriguing team stat. Orlando also crushed San Antonio in the paint. The biggest surprise was the 22 points off turnovers that the Magic accumulated – surprising because entering Sunday’s action the Spurs ranked second in the entire league in limiting opponent points off turnovers.