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Feb 8, 2024 6:36 am

Magic shoot for season sweep of skidding Spurs

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The Orlando Magic will look to sweep the two-game season series from the reeling San Antonio Spurs when the teams square off on Thursday in Central Florida.

The Magic rolled to a 108-98 road win over the Spurs on Jan. 31.

Orlando heads into the Thursday game after a 121-95 loss at Miami on Tuesday that snapped the Magic’s three-game winning streak and finished off a 3-2 road trip.

Paolo Banchero scored 23 points to lead Orlando, the 12th time in the Magic’s past 14 games that he was the team’s top scorer. He added nine rebounds and seven assists, both team-high totals. Wendell Carter Jr. put up 15 points and Franz Wagner finished with 13 two nights after matching his career high of 38 points in a win at Detroit.

Orlando never led against the Heat but opened the fourth quarter on a 13-2 run to claw within 10 points. The Magic eventually succumbed, though, as they wound up committing 18 turnovers that led to 19 points.

“Miami wanted it more, it seemed like,” Banchero said.

With the trade deadline looming on Thursday afternoon, the Tuesday game might have been the last time that version of the Magic roster took the court together. The focus after the loss in Miami was getting better and preparing for the Spurs.

“I really think these guys are always ready to go whenever their number is called,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “It’s a long season and we all know it. You don’t predict the things that are going to happen within an 82-game season, but you ask that these guys stay ready, they stay prepared.”

Orlando’s next four games are at home, with the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks arriving after the Spurs, all over a seven-day period.

The Spurs head north to Orlando after taking a 116-104 loss in Miami on Wednesday in the opener of a road back-to-back. It was also the initial contest of San Antonio’s annual Rodeo Road Trip, which this season features nine games in 21 days and includes the All-Star break.

San Antonio trailed just 78-77 entering the fourth quarter before the Heat pulled away with an 11-2 run. The visitors fell behind by 19 points with 3:09 to play before making a late run that was only window dressing in the Spurs’ fifth straight defeat.

“We had some turnovers and missed some shots in the fourth quarter and Miami just played better, which is to be expected,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “I thought we had we had good shots in the fourth, but we need to make care of the ball better than we did in the fourth.”

Tre Jones and Devin Vassell led the Spurs on Wednesday with 19 points each, while rookie Victor Wembanyama added 18 points and 13 rebounds. San Antonio, which owns the worst record in the Western Conference, dropped to 5-20 on the road this season.

–Field Level Media

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