Grades: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic – Game #32

The San Antonio Spurs dropped to 10-22 on the season after a 133-113 defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic. For the Magic, who improved to 13-21, this was their eighth win in their last nine outings. 

The Spurs actually led by nine points with two minutes remaining in the first half. Unfortunately, that’s when the Magic went nuclear. Orlando scored the final nine points of the half to tie the game going into halftime. The Magic kept rolling and ended up scoring 68 points in a span of 20 minutes. The Spurs couldn’t keep pace and the game was over a few minutes into the fourth quarter.

Playing in the second night of a back-to-back, the Spurs looked like they ran out of gas in the second half. Their closeouts were slow on the perimeter and the Magic made them pay over and over and over again.

Final Grades: Spurs at Magic

spurs magic

Keldon Johnson

It was a tale of two halves for Johnson against the Magic. In the first half, he had an efficient 13 points to go along with three assists. In the second half, Johnson was 1-for-7 from the field, his assists dried up and missed all four of his three-point attempts. It wasn’t a coincidence that the Spurs stopped being competitive when he started to struggle. Let’s hope that Johnson can get back to putting entire games together like he was earlier in the season.

Grade: C+

Devin Vassell

Vassell had a forgettable night at the office. He was uncharacteristically struggling to pick his spots on offense; he kept getting stuck between looking to score and wanting to pass. The end result was an outing in which he shot poorly and his passing was a beat or two slow. The silver lining was Vassell’s activity on defense. After a slow defensive start to the season, he’s averaging 2.6 steals per game over his last seven contests.

Grade: C

Jakob Poeltl

Poeltl continues to not quite look right since coming back from a bone bruise of his knee. His lateral mobility and jumping ability are not at his normal levels. That’s causing him to reach more on defense, which is getting him into foul trouble. It’s also odd that he has only two assists in his last four outings. To begin the season, Poeltl’s passing was at a career-best level. My guess is his lack of playmaking from the high post also has to do with him not being all the way back physically.

Grade: C

Tre Jones

Jones had two turnovers in San Antonio’s first three possessions of the game but then settled in after that and played really well. I thought his defense was solid, his hustle was unrelenting and his offensive play was excellent. He was making plays in transition and in halfcourt settings. Jones hit both of his three-pointers and had impressive finishes at the rim. Even his floaters, which he has struggled with this season, looked great. 

Grade: A-

Jeremy Sochan

Sochan continued his excellent play. He has really turned up the intensity on offense since the switch to shooting free throws one-handed — and now he oftentimes looks like San Antonio’s most dangerous weapon on that end of the court. When he can get going down hill, Sochan’s mix of size, athleticism and passing ability really shine. Unfortunately, his effort against the Magic got derailed by foul trouble. As it was, Sochan was a constant threat on offense, rebounded well, defended out on the perimeter and was altering shots in the paint.

Grade: A-

Stanley Johnson

After his play in the previous two games, it became clear that Johnson deserved a spot in the rotation. He was in the rotation versus the Magic — and did nothing to hurt his standing with the coaching staff. Johnson played a physical and pesky brand of defense. Offensively, he shot it well enough to keep the defense honest and his passing remains a strong positive in his favor. If Johnson can continue to shoot it even halfway straight, he’s doing enough elsewhere to continue to be a mainstay in the rotation.

Grade: B+

Zach Collins

The good: Collins defended well in the interior without fouling, hit a smooth-looking three-pointer and battled with brawn on the boards. The bad: Collins’ perimeter defense was poor. When he was in the game, the Magic seemed to get open three-pointers whenever they wanted. 

Grade: B

Doug McDermott

McDermott’s quick release has been a key weapon this season for the Spurs but he took things a little too far against the Magic. He was shooting shots so quickly that he wasn’t squared up at all and his form suffered. McDermott was money when he was open, so taking his time and mixing in a few more passes wouldn’t have hurt anything. Defensively, he had a hard time — even by his standards. McDermott messed up more rotations than I could count.

Grade: C-

Josh Richardson

Richardson tried to shoulder a hefty amount of the load during his 18 minutes on the court. In retrospect, given his poor shooting performance, that decision hurt the Spurs a lot more than it helped. The bright spots: Richardson played hard on both ends. His playmaking was a bit better than usual, as was his hustle on the defensive end.

Grade: C+

Malaki Branham

Branham remains red-hot from the field. In his last four games, he’s shooting 75% from the floor and 58.3% from three-point range while averaging 11 points in 20 minutes per contest. His passing was also really, really good against the Magic. His timing and precision in that regard were impeccable. I also liked most of what I saw on the defensive end. I still think Branham can be more selfish on the offensive end but it’s been great to see him emerge from his season-long shooting slump.

Grade: A-


Pop coached well. The Spurs scored on almost every play he called coming out of timeouts. His play-calling in general was stupendous. The rotations also made perfect sense. Giving S. Johnson his deserved spot in the rotation while also giving Branham minutes was great to see. Pop is also making sure that Sochan gets minutes running the show, which is invaluable to his development.

Grade: A