The San Antonio Spurs fell to the Orlando Magic on Thursday night by a final count of 127-111. The Spurs are now 0-2 on the Rodeo Road Trip and have dropped six straight games.
San Antonio looked lethargic coming out of the gates but the good guys were able to stick around for a quarter and a half. Unfortunately, the Spurs fell apart going into halftime and then never truly recovered in the second half.
Considering they were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, it was somewhat understandable for the Spurs to be tired. That said, if they don’t find some energy from somewhere, San Antonio won’t be able to get any time soon.
Stats: Spurs vs. Magic
Spurs vs. Magic – Final Grades
This was a classic rookie wall performance. One rebound in 23 minutes? Yeah, no, that’s not the Wembanyama that we know and love. He also turned it over five times and didn’t play much defense outside of the basket area. Scoring-wise, Wembanyama was fine. He scored an efficient 15 points — the only issue is he didn’t have enough energy to try to carry a bigger offensive load.
Vassell was terrible in the first half. In 16 minutes, he had no points and played no defense. In the third quarter, Vassell had a performance for the ages. He played the entire period and scored 23 points on 9-for-9 shooting. He played with purpose and no one could stop him. He also stepped it up on the defensive end. As awesome of a quarter as that was for Vassell, a more consistent showing would have been more helpful. Even the greatest third quarter in the history of third quarters isn’t what you want when winning a basketball game is the goal.
Sochan didn’t do enough good. His rebounding was meager, he wasn’t making plays and his scoring efficiency was nothing to write home about. I liked some of his defensive possessions — but it wasn’t like he was especially great in that area either. Sochan had been playing pretty well for a stretch but he has now really struggled in three straight outings.
Jones didn’t move the needle much with his play. Defensively, while he led the Spurs with three steals, he was too often out of position and he routinely got overwhelmed by Orlando’s powerful athletes. Offensively, Jones didn’t push the pace as well as usual. The result was a stagnant offensive attack when he was in the game. All in all, Jones did okay but failed to make a notable impact.
The starting lineup as a unit was underwhelming but Champagnie played his role reasonably well. He hit a three-pointer on one of his first touches. He connected on three free throws, did good work on the glass and made few mistakes. Champagnie’s passing and defense were also both a little better than usual.
Wesley got extra run as the backup point guard and it’s difficult not to love what he did with those minutes. The kid is starting to look like a true-blue NBA player. Defensively against the Magic, he was an unrelenting menace. Utilizing his length and quickness, he was a walking disruption. Offensively, he was also really darn good. He took smart shots, exhibited uncharacteristic touch and his passing was really good. Wesley looks like a natural playmaker and passer. When he has good shot-selection, takes care of the ball and plays rugged defense, there’s no question he’s a player who impacts the game in a positive manner.
Better. Definitely better. Collins has struggled quite a bit recently but he did well in Orlando. He hit all five of his two-point attempts and passed the ball very well. He didn’t try to do too much on the offensive end, which is important to note when evaluating Collins. Defensively, he was improved. He defended the rim with gusto, gave better effort on the boards and played with more physicality. Hopefully this was a sign that Collins will soon rediscover his groove.
Johnson was uber aggressive in his 24 minutes. Considering that the Spurs lacked pizazz much of the affair, no one minded him going extra hard. Johnson’s efficiency left much to be desired and he never found his way to the line. Making plays for others also wasn’t something he did much of against the Magic. Defensively, he competed decently well and gave effort on the boards.
With Doug McDermott gone, Branham finds himself in a position to earn more minutes. On Thursday night, I can’t say that Branham helped his case. He was only 1-for-5 from the floor and missed three more three-pointers. He had a couple heady passes but that was about the extent of his positive play on that end. Defensively, Branham was mentally engaged but often a step slow.
Osman’s electricity is typically palpable. That wasn’t the case versus the Magic, however. He didn’t do much of pushing it in transition or setting up his teammates. Osman has a chance to carve out a bigger niche with McDermott gone but he didn’t take advantage of that in Orlando.
I can’t say that coaching had a big impact on what happened against the Magic. The Spurs obviously lacked energy and the Magic hit 16-of-27 three-point attempts. That’s a difficult combination to overcome. I did like the extra minutes for Wesley. That was at least one good thing that came out of this game.