ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Magic made their home preseason debut with a spirited 101-100 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Keep in mind, this is preseason, not the final product. the Magic, however showed that they still have some of that grit from the previous few seasons.
Orlando was led in scoring by Terrance Ross with 20 points, most coming in a fourth quarter push, as well as 16 points by Mo Bamba.
Bamba continued to show a stronger, higher battery this season with more energy, grit, and clutch shot blocking. Bamba finished the night with 10 rebounds and 5 shot blocks. He had some key blocks that stifled some Spurs shot attempts in the final minutes of the game. Coach Mosely had increased his minutes to 27 tonight, and Bamba performed well.
Orlando began the night with high energy and excitement. The boys in blue were thrilled to play in front of home fans for the first time. There was some sloppy play and mistakes, but that came under control once the team settled in.
Jalen Suggs commented on the fans.
“Man, these fans are out here screaming for us, cheering us on in the fourth quarter” said Suggs “I told my teammates ‘we gotta win for these guys.'”
Suggs had a chance at the final shot, but lost the ball and the end of the game ended with both teams scrambling the the ball. A jump ball was called, but time had expired. He ended the game with 4 points and 2 assists.
Suggs is still trying to find his way through things, and is getting used to the pace of the NBA game as well as gelling with his new team. His athletic ability and basketball mind is evident in his play, but there’s some growing that will come with more time on the court.
Magic Head Coach Jamal Mosely was pleased by the teams resilience when facing diversity.
“I loved their resilience” Said Coach Mosely. “We were down by as much as 18 points and they didn’t give up, even when shots were not falling. They kept fighting and I think that that’s going to be huge for us down this final stretch.”
The Spurs come into this, their fourth preseason game, having gone 1-2 in there previous two games, Dejounte Murray led the team in scoring with 18 points, followed by Lonnie Walker’s 16 points. This win evens Greg Popovich’s record to 2-2 for the preseason.
The overall theme of the post game press conference was that the team had some cleaning up to do before the season begins, but they are seeing some great individual things.
RJ Hampton made some great athletic plays, including timely three point shots and driving into the paint for dunks and lay ups. When Hampton was under control, he was an effective weapon, but his wilder shots often lead to fast breaks the other way.
Cole Anthony played a more controlled game than last year, and didn’t score until late in the third quarter. Anthony ended the night with 8 points, including going 2 of 4 from 3.
The Magic battled to win in the final minutes of play, with Terrance Ross scoring key clutch points to keep them in it.
Even thought this team is the youngest in the NBA, this was a great learning opportunity and showed the team has no quit, which they will need a harder challenges are on their way when the regular season starts.
The Magic face off against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday at the Amway Center for their final preseason game.