kWh’s Dagger Ends Magic Upset Hopes

By on February 11, 2016

 

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) attempts to defend during the second half at Amway Center. San Antonio defeated Orlando 98-96. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) attempts to defend during the second half at Amway Center. San Antonio defeated Orlando 98-96.       (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

The Orlando Magic lost another heartbreaker on Wednesday night – this time against the San Antonio Spurs, who prevailed 98-96 on a last second shot by Kawhi Leonard. The Magic hung with the Spurs all night, leading for the majority of the game. When it became crunch time, however, San Antonio erased a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to set up the game winner.

After sweeping the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday and Monday, the Magic seemed to have finally pulled out of the tailspin that was the month of January. They rode this wave of momentum into the Amway Center on Wednesday, and showed signs of progress in a dogfight with the 44-8 Spurs.

The Spurs took the court without Tony Parker or Manu Ginobli, as well as getting Tim Duncan back from an eight-game absence. They were on the second game of a back-to-back, and a prime target for a March Madness style Cinderella upset by the Magic.

San Antonio came out flat at the opening tip and trailed the Magic for the majority of the first quarter. This was enough to give Orlando hope, as they sensed that the juggernaut Spurs team could be beaten.

This would come in handy when the Magic found themselves down 10 in the last three minutes of the half. It would’ve been natural for the young team to fold, but instead they stormed back – closing the deficit to two points and then taking the lead on a buzzer-beating three by Victor Oladipo to close out the half.

Basketball, however, is a game of runs, and it was only a matter of time before the San Antonio Spurs made theirs. With the subs on the floor and a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Magic began to exhale. It was then that the Spurs began chipping away, with All-Star Kawhi Leonard scoring 11 in just 9 minutes. Before the Magic knew what hit them, the Spurs had launched a full-on comeback – now controlling the game.

Again the Spurs would back the Magic into a corner. Down three with just 13 seconds left to play, they needed a perfect play for a tie. Head coach Scott Skiles drew up a route where Evan Fournier faked a screen and then weaved through the offense to free up a shot from downtown. The Magic executed the play to perfection, and Fournier tied the game up with just nine seconds to spare.

Orlando would have to survive one last possession before the reprieve of overtime, but in the end it would be too much. Kawhi Leonard took the ball at the top of the arc, isolated on Aaron Gordon. It was the matchup that both teams wanted, but the All-Star starter was too good, burying a jumper with Gordon draped over him.

This would be the most recent in a string of last-second defeats for the Magic, who are left looking for answers to a problem that continues to rear its head. “There’s a handful of plays in every game, or more, that just don’t go your way,” said Skiles, “maybe the other team out-hustles you or something, but for us in key moments we have just struggled to make the winning play.”

Despite the result, the Magic can find positives in playing the second-best team in the league to a last-second shot.

Evan Fournier led the pinstriped charge, scoring 28 points on an even 10-of-20 from the floor with three three-pointers on the night. The Frenchman did it all – scoring from outside, driving to the hoop, bringing the ball up the court, even setting the offensive pace at times.

Aaron Gordon fell two short of his career mark with 14 rebounds, and played solid defense throughout.

Nikola Vucevic notched yet another double-double, scoring 20 points with 13 rebounds on the night. He also tallied two blocks and three assists.

This will be the Magic’s final game before the All-Star break, but when they do return to the Amway Center Rocket Sports and Entertainment will be there to bring you the latest coverage.

1 2 3 4 T
SA 29 21 17 31 98
ORL 23 28 28 17 96
San Antonio Spurs
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF 33 8-16 0-0 5-5 2 5 7 2 0 2 1 2 +5 21
Kawhi Leonard, SF 33 12-19 3-3 2-2 1 6 7 2 2 1 2 2 +6 29
Tim Duncan, C 18 2-9 0-0 1-1 2 5 7 5 0 3 1 1 +4 5
Ray McCallum, PG 17 1-4 0-1 2-2 0 5 5 1 0 0 1 1 0 4
Danny Green, SG 35 4-11 2-8 2-2 1 4 5 2 0 1 2 1 +7 12
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
David West, PF 12 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 1 2 1 -4 4
Kyle Anderson, SF 18 0-4 0-1 2-2 0 1 1 3 2 1 1 1 +1 2
Rasual Butler, SF 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 +8 0
Boban Marjanovic, C 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +1 0
Boris Diaw, C 18 2-7 0-1 0-0 0 3 3 2 0 0 1 0 -16 4
Patty Mills, PG 31 7-11 3-5 0-1 4 2 6 7 2 1 1 2 +2 17
Jonathon Simmons, SG 16 0-4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 -4 0
Tony Parker, PG DNP REST
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
38-89 8-20 14-15 11 33 44 24 6 11 13 14 98
42.7% 40.0% 93.3%
Fast break points:   5
Points in the paint:   28
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers):   13 (12)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.

Orlando Magic

STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Aaron Gordon, PF 30 1-6 0-3 2-3 1 13 14 3 1 2 1 1 +3 4
Nikola Vucevic, C 37 9-22 0-0 2-2 4 9 13 5 1 2 3 4 +1 20
Elfrid Payton, PG 42 5-11 0-1 3-4 1 5 6 7 2 0 2 3 -4 13
Evan Fournier, SG 42 10-20 3-5 5-5 0 2 2 5 0 0 1 3 -4 28
Victor Oladipo, SG 40 6-14 2-4 0-0 0 3 3 1 2 0 4 1 -1 14
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Andrew Nicholson, PF 18 1-5 1-2 0-0 1 2 3 1 0 2 1 2 -5 3
Dewayne Dedmon, C 11 1-5 0-0 0-0 6 3 9 2 0 1 1 0 -3 2
Shabazz Napier, PG 6 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 +2 0
Mario Hezonja, SG 15 4-6 2-4 2-2 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 4 +1 12
Channing Frye, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION
Devyn Marble, SF DNP COACH’S DECISION
C.J. Watson, PG DNP SORE LEFT CALF
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
37-91 8-20 14-16 13 37 50 26 7 7 15 18 96
40.7% 40.0% 87.5%
Fast break points:   6
Points in the paint:   40
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers):   15 (19)
+/- denotes team’s net points while the player is on the court.

 Flagrant Fouls: None
 Technical Fouls: PLAYERS:None -TEAMS: None -COACHES:None
 Officials: Pat Fraher, Bill Spooner, Tyler Ford
 Attendance: 17,467
 Time of Game: 2:12

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