The Orlando Magic, like in Wednesday’s loss against the Boston Celtics, did enough defensively against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday to give themselves a chance to win. But another off-shooting night prevented that from happening, as the Magic made just 39.3 percent of their floor shots and 29.3 percent of their 3-point tries in a 102-89 defeat at Amway Center.
By posting 12 points on Friday, Jalen Suggs has now scored in double figures in nine of his first 10 career NBA games. Meanwhile, Mo Bamba continues to light it up from downtown. The 7-footer buried another two 3-pointers against the Spurs and has now knocked down 16 of them so far this season. Also hot from deep was R.J. Hampton, who buried all three of his attempts. Cole Anthony led all scorers with 21 points.
After back-to-back buckets by Hampton trimmed Orlando’s deficit to seven with under six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Spurs responded with nine straight points. Dejounte Murray hit a pair of mid-range jumpers, a Magic turnover led to a Keldon Johnson basket and Johnson capped off that stretch with an AND-1.
Out for Orlando were Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Markelle Fultz (left knee) and E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain). For San Antonio, Devontae Cacok (G League; Two-Way), Zach Collins (left ankle), Jakob Poeltl (health and safety protocols), Joshua Primo (G League assignment), and Joe Wieskamp (G League – Two-Way) were unavailable.
The Spurs have the seventh youngest roster in the league. Leading them in scoring is the 25-year-old Murray, their longest-tenured player. Despite their 3-6 start, San Antonio has been competitive in a few of their defeats. They lost by one to the Dallas Mavericks, by four to the Los Angeles Lakers and by six to the Denver Nuggets. It’s ambiguous at this point whether any of their young talent has what it takes to ascend to the next level. Johnson, the Spurs’ second-leading scorer, is only 22 years old. Lonnie Walker IV is also 22. Devin Vassell, a Florida State alum and San Antonio’s lottery draft pick a year ago, is 21. Primo, their 2021 draft lottery selection, is just 18.
This Day in History
On Nov. 5, 1993, opening night that season, Shaquille O’Neal exploded for 42 points on 17-of-24 shooting and Penny Hardaway, playing in his first NBA regular season game, stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Magic cruised past the Miami Heat. Nick Anderson chipped in with 18 points and Jeff Turner made five of his six shots for 10 points.
Quote of the Night
“The one thing I think we are doing is we are playing extremely hard. I think we are doing a better job of picking up guy’s tendencies and focusing on the scouting report so that we cannot give these dudes the shots that they want. It hasn’t translated to the wins yet, but you have to look at the positive sometimes. Defense has been a positive for us so far.” – Anthony
The Magic’s five-game homestand continues Sunday when the red-hot Utah Jazz step into the Amway Center for a 6 p.m. tipoff. The Jazz rolled past the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday despite the absence of Donovan Mitchell, who is nursing an ankle injury. Jordan Clarkson erupted for 30 points, while Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 and Joe Ingles chipped in with 19. Now 7-1, the Jazz will be in Miami to play the Heat before coming to Orlando.