Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Orlando Magic – Game #52

After snapping their five-game losing streak last night against the Dallas Mavericks, the San Antonio Spurs will look to keep the good times rolling tonight against the Orlando Magic.

The Spurs, 25-26, are the ninth seed in the Western Conference, one game behind the Memphis Grizzlies and one game ahead of the tenth-seeded Golden State Warriors. Due to the NBA’s play-in tournament that involves seeds seven, eight, nine and ten in each conference, the Spurs are still in the thick of the playoff race despite their recent struggles.

The Magic, 17-36, have the second worst record in the Eastern Conference and the fourth worst record in the NBA. They’ve lost five straight games and are 0-3 so far on their current four-game homestand.

San Antonio Spurs Injury Update

Lonnie Walker IV and Keita Bates-Diop are both healthy. While Bates-Diop didn’t play against the Mavs, Walker played really well off the bench and had one of the best dunks by a Spurs player this season.

The Spurs still have two players sidelined with injuries. Gorgui Dieng is dealing with a shoulder injury that he sustained in his San Antonio debut. Drew Eubanks has been filling Dieng’s spot in the rotation. Trey Lyles is also out due to a sprained ankle he sustained during a practice session. No timeline for Dieng or Lyles has been provided by the team.

The Orlando Magic Pushed the Reset Button

The Orlando Magic blew up their team since the last time they played the Spurs. At the trade deadline, they traded away Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon, arguably their three best players. In return, they got young players and draft picks.

The Magic were the seventh seed two seasons ago and the eighth seed last season. However, after a slow start to this season, Orlando decided to rebuild from the ground up.

Spurs at Magic: Why the Spurs Need to Win

San Antonio’s schedule to finish the season is extremely difficult. In fact, it is one of the most difficult schedules of any team in the league. Tonight’s game is one of the few contests that, on paper, appears to be destined for the win column if the Silver and Black play their cards right.

If the Spurs slip up and lose tonight’s game, their chances of making the playoffs would take a notable hit. It’d be difficult to project the Spurs making the postseason if they lose winnable games like tonight’s contest against the lowly (and probably tanking) Magic.