Behind 54 combined points and 10 collective assists from Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the San Antonio Spurs pushed their winning streak to six with a 121-112 victory over a gritty Orlando Magic team.
Kawhi Leonard (17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks) was part of six Spurs players who scored in double-figures, to help the Spurs overcome a Magic team led by Tobias Harris (23 points), Nikola Vucevic (19 points, 13 rebounds), and Arron Afflalo (17 points). Here were some key points in the Spurs’ victory over the Magic.
Parker and Ginobili dominate in backcourt
With the Magic missing rookie Victor Oladipo due to injury, it was Parker and Ginobili who dominated the backcourt in the match. Both players finished shooting over 58% in the match, while they also got others involved as they each collected five assists, and Parker in particular, logged four secondary assists.
Defensively, the tandem helped in holding Jameer Nelson to 3-of-10 shooting for nine points, while Arron Afflalo needed 18 shots to collect 17 points. Parker, using screens off the ball, ran the second most miles on the team (2.4) in the win, while he also shot 6-of-8 on uncontested baskets. Ginobili, who was seen driving into the lane and even making an and-1 fade-away shot, finished shooting 5-of-6 on contested field goals.
Parker scored 30 points for the third time this season, while Ginobili scored 20-plus points for the seventh time this season.
“He’s a bad man.” – Coach Popovich on Leonard
After the game, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was asked about Leonard’s game, he responded, “he’s a bad man.” After shutting LeBron James down on Thursday in the fourth quarter, Leonard carried over his strong play on both ends of the floor Saturday.
Offensively, he finished with 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting, as he was aggressive in getting to the free throw line, where he made 6-of-7 free throws. He also collected four assists and one secondary assist.
Defensively, he gathered two steals, two blocks, and grabbed seven rebounds. Though Maurice Harkless scored 12 points, Leonard forced him into 14 shots for those points. Leonard was active all over the floor as he tracked the most miles ran of any player in the game, at 2.8 miles. Of his 13 defensive rebounding chances, Leonard, a small forward, grabbed seven of the defensive rebounds.
Since returning from injury six games ago, Leonard is averaging 14.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.8 steals, and 1.8 blocks. Leonard is also shooting 55.4% from the field and 52.6% from three since returning from injury. The Spurs have won six games in a row since Leonard rejoined the lineup, a sign that shows “he’s a bad man.”
The many weapons in the Spurs’ offense
In a game where they were clearly going to need to outscore the Magic, as Orlando scored 27 or more points in three of the games four quarters, the Spurs received those contributions from a number of players. Take a look at their players who scored five or more points in each quarter.
First quarter: Parker 11 points, Danny Green 6 points, Ginobili 5 points
Second quarter: Ginobili 7 points, Boris Diaw 6 points, Leonard 5 points
Third quarter: Ginobili 7 points, Green 6 points, Parker 5 points, Tim Duncan 5 points
Fourth quarter: Parker 11 points, Tiago Splitter 11 points, Ginobili 5 points, Leonard 5 points
As you can see from above, it wasn’t just three players attacking the Magic, as Green (12 points, 4-of-4 from three), Duncan (11 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks), and Splitter (14 points) each had productive individual roles in various quarters.
The Spurs didn’t reach the 30 assist mark, as they tallied 26 assists (9 secondary assists), but another impact in the game was the low number of turnovers (13) by San Antonio. Seven players touched the ball 40 or more times as well in the Spurs’ win, showing how they have a number of players who work with the ball on offense.
Defense in the third quarter
With the Magic shooting 50% by halftime, San Antonio knew it was going to need to a defensive quarter in the second half, and that time came in the third quarter. In the third, the Spurs held the Magic to 22 points and 38% shooting. The Magic lead had risen to six early in the quarter, but the Spurs’ defense helped them overtake the lead and raise San Antonio’s to seven points in the quarter, as the Spurs scored 29 points in those 12 minutes.
“Every mistake you make, they capitalize on it,” said Harkless of the Spurs after the game. “You make a simple mistake one play, and next thing you know they have a wide open three. They find ways to pick apart defenses, and you have to play perfect against them all game.”
Here’s the Magic’s shot chart in the third quarter:
Where San Antonio Stands
· Regular Season: 46-16 (Tied with Oklahoma City for 1st in Western Conference)
· Home Record: 23-8
· Vs. Opponents with -.500 records: 25-2
· Vs. The Eastern Conference: 21-6
· Post All-Star Break Record: 8-1
· The Spurs are on a 6-game winning streak
· The Spurs are 17-0 when Tiago Splitter scores in double-figures
(All Stats and Player Tracking data via NBA.com. Quotes via FSSW broadcast and Spurs PR department.)