Magic crushed by Spurs, 108-72Orlando Sentinel — By Josh Robbins Orlando Sentinel
March 13-- SAN ANTONIO-No play exemplified the futility of the Orlando Magic's effort Tuesday night against the San Antonio Spurs than a sequence midway through the second quarter.
The Magic had just come out of a timeout they had called, and rookie forward Jonathan Isaac inbounded the ball from the baseline in his defensive end.
The Spurs' Patty Mills intercepted the pass.
Mills hurled the ball to teammate Kyle Anderson, who in turn chucked it back to Mills, and Mills drained a 3-pointer.
Mills' steal and long-range jumper was part of a 17-0 run that helped propel the Spurs over the Magic, 108-72, at AT&T Center.
Playing without injured leading scorers Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, the Magic offense looked inept against a Spurs defense that ranks among the league's best. Orlando made only 34.6 percent of its shots, turned the ball over 21 times and struggled from beyond the arc.
Orlando recorded its lowest point total of the season.
The Spurs (38-30) are difficult to play under most circumstances. On Tuesday night, however, the Magic (20-48) expected-correctly-the Spurs to play with even more desperation than usual.
Following a loss Monday in Houston, the Spurs opened Tuesday 10th in the Western Conference standings, with the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets ahead of them because of tiebreaker rules. If the season had ended Monday night, the Spurs would have missed the playoffs for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge played Tuesday after he didn't play in Houston because of an injury, and he finished with a game-high 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting.
San Antonio will face a hellish schedule over the final month of the regular season-games against New Orleans, Minnesota, Golden State, Washington and Utah are next-so the Spurs had to beat the Magic.
Tuesday's game offered the Magic one last chance to redeem themselves. They had lost all four of their previous games on their five-game road trip.
"If our guys are competitors, they will not look at this as the last game of a trip but (as) an opportunity to get a win," Magic coach Frank Vogel said before tipoff. "You never want to come to the West Coast and come back with an 0-fer, not come back with at least a single win, and this is our opportunity to do this."
Vogel's crew finished the trip 0 for 5.
Tuesday's matchup actually was close for a while-a little while.
The Magic tied the score 15-15 on a driving layup by Mario Hezonja with 4:26 to go in the first quarter.
But from that point on, the Spurs closed the first half by outscoring the Magic 47-22.
The Magic made only eight of their 28 shots and turned the ball over nine times during that disastrous stretch.
San Antonio led by as many as 42 points.
Jonathon Simmons, who played his first two NBA seasons with the Spurs, played his first regular-season game at AT&T Center since he joined the Magic in free agency last summer. He endured a rotten homecoming. Simmons went 3 for 13 from the field and turned the ball over twice.
Nikola Vucevic played even worse.
Vucevic made only five of his 14 shots and finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
With 5:08 left in the third quarter, Aldridge posted him up near the left edge of the lane, pivoted for a turnaround jumper and sank it from 15 feet over one of Vucevic's outstretched hands.
When the shot swished through the net, Vucevic raised his hands waist high, threw them down in frustration and faced the Magic bench.
He and his teammates had every reason to feel that way.
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