The Orlando Magic faced the San Antonio Spurs in their final preseason game this week. Both teams came into this game with a 2-2 record. The 16,424 fans at the Amway Center had to witness a rough draft of what is to come.
San Antonio comes in missing star forward Rudy Gay with a heel injury as well as guards Derek White and Dejounte Murray, with merry being out for the season with a knee injury.
The Magic started the game with anemic, sloppy offense with the Magic making only 17% of their shots in the first quarter. A spark is Jonathan Isaac scoring the teams first five points with an aggressive put back and a three point shot. Even with Issaic’s strong defense on San Antonio star LeMarcus Aldridge, their offense was cold.
The teams only managed a 22-10 score at the end of the first quarter.
Veteran center Nikola Vucevic, who finished with 14 points, credited the Spurs for their role in forcing the Magic to shoot 37.1 percent from the field and 19.2 percent from 3-point range.
“I think what happens with the Spurs [is that] they kind of give you some looks that they want so [that] you think that they’re good looks — you then take them a lot of the times and [they’re] actually kind of like quick shots that don’t really get you into rhythm,” Vucevic said. “I think we just fell for a lot of those. We weren’t patient. They kind of test your patience, they test your offense and they want to make sure that you’re working. They have enough patience offensively.
“For us, we took a lot of quick shots and they weren’t necessarily always bad looks, but it just wasn’t the looks that are going to work for you for 48 minutes.”
There was some good news, Evan Fournier finally broke out of his shooting slump with a 23 point effort after poor shooting so far this year. Aaron Gordon struggled to score, going with 0 points until the fourth quarter.
Magic point guard DJ Augustine was held well in check by the Spurs. The diminutive guard regularly streaked to the baseline, but proved to be little threat. He managed 4 points but it did have 6 assists, but it is preseason, so numbers don’t really matter at this point.
Magic rookie Mohammed Bamba scored 15 points with 22 minutes on the floor. Highlights include a dunk over Aldridge, and 5 of 10 shooting.
San Antonio smoothly went through it’s paces. Star forward DeMar DeRozen quietly scored a team high 20 points in the game, Aldridge scored 13, Patty Mills scored 15.
The Magic end the preseason with a 2-3 record with wins over Memphis and Brazilian club Flamingo at the Amway Center.
Magic coach Steve Clifford was most concerned with managing minutes, offensive flow, defensive effort and attention to detail during the preseason.
“I think the best way to look at it is when have we played — I think it’s really like this to be honest for like the first 20 games: What are you doing when you play well and what’s not happening when you play poorly? So, for us, clearly when we have offensive pace and energy — this would be most teams — the ball is hitting the paint before we shoot and we’re getting to the free-throw line. Those have been our best moments,” Clifford said.
“And then defensively, when we run back, which tonight I think we were pretty good, yeah we were great. And when we’re again controlling the ball and controlling cutters, so we’re not having to be in a bunch of rotations, that’s when we’re good so far, too.
“But again, it takes a while before you really know like what your team is.”
The Magic begin their season on Wednesday October 17th against the Miami Heat at the Amway Center 7pm.