DeRozan, Murray lead Spurs past slumping Magic 120-97
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points in just three quarters of work, Dejounte Murray added 17 and the San Antonio Spurs routed the slumping Orlando Magic 120-97 on Monday night.
San Antonio was playing a night after winning in Dallas on a last-second shot by DeRozan, and it showed no signs of fatigue in cruising to the easy win. The Spurs’ victories Sunday and Monday gave them their first consecutive wins since a three-game streak from March 15-19.
”We just wanted to come in and capitalize on our win from (Sunday) and take a different approach to playing a back-to-back by being more aggressive and really take it at them,” said Spurs center Drew Eubanks, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds. ”We need more wins to end the season, so we just wanted to be aggressive and leave it all out there.”
Prior to tipoff, the teams, coaching staffs and refereeing crew came together and formed a circle at mid-court with their arms interlocked and their heads bowed to show their displeasure over the fatal shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, by police during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Magic coach Steve Clifford stood side by side with their arms interlocked during the anthem.
”Guys on both teams spoke and it’s just a symbol of how badly everybody feels that we need change,” Clifford said. ”It was a peaceful protest and we’ll continue to bring awareness to the problems that we have in our country.”
”It just makes you sick to your stomach,” Popovich said. ”How many times does it have to happen?”
The Spurs, who beat the Magic 104-77 on March 12 and topped Orlando for a third straight time, wiped out an early six-point deficit and broke the game open by the latter stages of the first period. They led 60-37 at the half, by 30 during the third quarter and didn’t allowed their lead fall below 20 throughout the second half.
DeRozan made 7 of 11 shots for a Spurs squad that shot 51.6%. DeRozan added six assists for the Spurs, who pulled within a half-game of the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. Derrick White chipped in 15 points.
”We started a bit slow, but they took it seriously and respected their opponent,” Popovich said. ”Orlando is in a tough spot right now, but they’re trying.”
Orlando, which shot 45% from the floor and mode only 5 of 20 3-pointers, lost a sixth straight game and fell for the 19th time in their past 23. R.J. Hampton had 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Wendell Carter Jr. had 15 points and eight rebounds.
”We’ve got to learn how to win, and that goes for myself, too,” Carter said.
Spurs: With an average age of 25 years and six months, this San Antonio team is the youngest that Popovich has guided since becoming head coach in 1996. The Spurs have nine players on the roster younger than 25 years old. … Rudy Gay and Lonnie Walker IV each scored 12 off the bench.
Magic: Magic center Mo Bamba, who set a career high in scoring twice in the past three games, left Monday’s game in the first quarter with a hip contusion and did not return. … Point guard Cole Anthony, who played well in his first three games back from a rib injury, picked up three fouls in a four-minute stretch of the first quarter.
Spurs: Versus Toronto in Tampa, Florida, on Wednesday night.
Magic: Play at Chicago on Wednesday night.
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