Efficient Fournier lifts Magic over Spurs 114-87
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The season is a little more than a week old, but the Orlando Magic continue to shock the NBA.
The Magic buried the San Antonio Spurs 114-87 behind 25 points from Evan Fournier to run their record to an Eastern Conference-best 4-1.
Orlando led by as many as 36 points in a near-perfect performance at both ends of the floor. One week ago, the Magic led the Cleveland Cavaliers by as many as 37 in a 114-93 victory.
Jonathon Simmons scored 17 points, Aaron Gordon had 16 and Nikola Vucevic scored 15 for the Magic, who closed this one out early. They led by 27 at halftime and pushed the lead to 36 when Fournier conveted a four-point play with just over three minutes left in the third period.
“I’m impressed with how we’re playing offensively,” coach Frank Vogel said. “Nobody is forcing things at the rim, nobody’s forcing it on the perimeter, and as a result, we’re getting better and better looks on each possession. That’s why you’re seeing the offense clicking the way it’s clicking.”
The Magic got 56 points in the paint and 58 on the perimeter, and they shot 11-for-23 from 3-point range. Fournier hit all four of his 3-point attempts, and Vucevic was 3-for-3 from behind the arc.
Orlando shot 60 percent for the first three quarters before emptying the bench in the fourth.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons out there on the floor, especially with Niko (Vucevic) being able to knock down the 3-ball,” Gordon said. “We have a lot of guys who are dangerous from a lot of different areas on the floor.”
San Antonio lost for the first time in five games this season. The Spurs tried to play the up-tempo game Orlando favors but couldn’t run with the younger, fresher Magic.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 11 rebounds for San Antonio. Patty Mills added 12 points and Pau Gasol scored 10 with eight rebounds.
“They did a good job of taking us out of what we wanted to do, and they did it for 48 minutes,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “They outplayed us in every facet.”
Orlando’s quick tempo resulted in open looks from all over the floor, especially in the first half, when all nine players scored.
Aldridge scored 12 first-half points on 5-of-9 shooting. The rest of the team combined to go 7 for 35 (20 percent) from the field, and no other Spur had more than four points at halftime.
“I wouldn’t say we took them lightly. They just beat us,” Aldridge said. “We didn’t play good defense and our offense wasn’t any good. When you don’t do those things, you end up getting beat by a lot of points.”
Orlando had 22 assists in the game, 19 of them in the first three periods.
“The respect level we have for them kept our guys engaged in the game the whole way,” Vogel said. “Our guys worked tonight. We forced a lot of turnovers and took them out of their rhythm. There are definitely a lot of positives happening for us.”
Spurs: Popovich still needs one win to tie Phil Jackson for sixth on the all-time victory list. Popovich is at 1,154. ... San Antonio went 2-for-13 from 3-point range in the first half. ... Aldridge has scored 20 or more points in each of the first five games. ... Only Miami had scored 100 points against the Spurs this season.
Magic: Orlando is shooting 49 percent from the field so far this season, compared to 44 percent last season. ... Gordon has hit 21 of 29 shots in his last two games. ... Orlando is 3-0 at home this season. ... The Magic hadn’t beaten the Spurs in Orlando since 2010.
Spurs: At Indiana on Sunday.
Magic: At Charlotte on Sunday night. The Magic have lost seven straight to the Hornets.
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