Fournier leads Magic to rout of Spurs
ORLANDO, Fla. -- After five consecutive losing seasons, even small samples of success are reason to celebrate for the Orlando Magic.
The upstart Magic demolished the previously unbeaten San Antonio Spurs, 114-87, Friday night with another impressive performance against one of the league’s better teams.
Evan Fournier scored 25 points and the Magic dominated for 48 minutes. It was similar to last week’s 21-point romp over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“It means we’re atop the Eastern Conference right now,” said forward Aaron Gordon, who scored 16 points. “And we’re having fun doing it. We’ve got a lot of weapons out there, and we’re learning how to use them.”
The Magic (4-1) started fast and never slowed. They led by 14 points after the first quarter, 27 at halftime and by 31 points after three periods. They led by as many as 36 midway in the third.
Magic reserve Jonathon Simmons, who played in San Antonio the past two seasons, had 17 points. Nikola Vucevic scored 15 points. The game was so lopsided that none of the starters played in the final period.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but he got little help. Pau Gasol had 12 points as the only other starter in double figures. Patty Mills also had 12 in reserve.
The Magic smothered the Spurs at one end, and did as they pleased at the other, moving the ball unselfishly to find better shots. Orlando shot 57.1 percent from the field, while the Spurs managed just 33.7 percent. The Magic hit 11 of 23 (47.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Spurs made just four of 24 (16.7 percent) from long range.
“I‘m impressed with the way we played,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said. “Offensively we were sharp. Defensively, we were locked in, and we forced turnovers. Very encouraged by the way we are playing right now.”
Fournier was nearly flawless in 27 minutes. He made 10 of 12 shots and all four of his 3-point attempts. Gordon made seven of his 11 attempts.
Fournier completed a four-point play late in the third period when he was fouled by Mills on his fourth 3-pointer of the game. He upped the lead to 86-50.
Mills followed less than a minute later with his own four-point play when he was fouled by Bismack Biyombo.
“The Magic were the aggressor at both ends of the floor,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I thought we were sloppy, but they took us out of what we wanted to do, and they did it for 48 minutes. They outplayed us in just about every facet of the game.”
The Magic led 61-34 at intermission. They rode a hot-shooting start and capitalized on a dreadful opening half by the Spurs. By halftime, the outcome already felt decided.
“I wouldn’t say we took them lightly, but we didn’t play good defense,” said Aldridge. “Our offense wasn’t good, either, and when you don’t do those things, you end up getting beat by a lot of points.”
Fournier hit six of his seven shots for 14 points in the first two periods. The Magic shot 60.5 percent (26 of 43), while the Spurs shot just 27.3 percent (12 of 44) and made two of 13 three points. The Magic also scored 16 points off 10 San Antonio turnovers to open the early lead.
“We’re only five games in but a win like this gives you confidence,” Vucevic said. “We can be a good team. I think everyone was tired of the losing.”
Aldridge had 12 points in the first half, but no other Spur scored more than four points.
NOTES: Spurs All-Star F Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps muscle) and PG Tony Parker (surgery rehab) have yet to make their season debuts, missing their fifth consecutive game Friday night. Parker practiced with the Spurs G-League affiliate earlier this week. ... Magic PG Elfrid Payton missed his third consecutive game with a sore left hamstring. ... When Magic C Nikola Vucevic scored 41 points at New Jersey and F Aaron Gordon had 40 two games later, it marked the first time two Magic players have scored 40 or more points in the same season since Shaquille O‘Neal and Penny Hardaway did it during the 1995-96 season. ... Magic reserve F Jonathon Simmons, who played the last two seasons in San Antonio, was wearing a live microphone during the game, providing insight for the Magic television network. “I learned a lot there (in San Antonio), but it was time to release the animal inside of me,” he said. ... Magic starting G Terrence Ross came into Friday having made just one of his previous 16 shots. He then missed his first three Friday night before making a shot in the second period.