With time running out for the San Antonio Spurs in their quest to extend their postseason playoff streak, they can't afford to lose focus, or another game, when they host the Orlando Magic on Saturday in the Alamo City.
San Antonio will look to get back on track after a 109-103 loss at home to Dallas on Wednesday that kept the Spurs three games behind Memphis for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
San Antonio trailed by as many as 19 points in the second quarter before rallying to tie the game at 96 on a Lonnie Walker IV 3-pointer with 4:01 to play. Dallas responded with the winning run to hand the Spurs their second straight loss.
"I think the game plan that I came out with was poor, and they took advantage of it in the first quarter, and we turned it over nine times in the first half," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "So, that got us in a hole."
DeMar DeRozan led San Antonio with 27 points in the loss. Marco Belinelli (14), Walker IV (12) and Bryn Forbes (10) also scored in double figures.
"I'm really proud of the effort and the stick-to-itiveness of our guys, where they could have hung their heads and cashed it in, and they came back and played their ass off after that," Popovich added. "So, a lot of good things."
The Spurs (24-33) have already tied the NBA record of 22 consecutive playoff appearances, but they are on the outside looking in for the postseason with 25 games to play. San Antonio's streak is the longest active playoff run in any major North American sports league.
Orlando heads to the Alamo City in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and after a 136-125 win over Minnesota on Friday. The Magic (27-32) have won three in a row and five of their past six games.
Aaron Gordon racked up his second career triple-double in leading Orlando, scoring 17 points, dishing out 12 assists and taking 11 rebounds in the win.
Terrence Ross paced the Magic with a season-high 33 points, with Nikola Vucevic adding 27 points and 10 rebounds, Markelle Fultz hitting for 14 points, and D.J. Augustin and Evan Fournier scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Gordon has been one of the catalysts for the Magic's move up the pecking order and into solid contention for the playoffs.
"I've just been more focused, working on my game, my craft," Gordon said. "I'm just being more focused with who I am as a ball player. They need that glue. They also need a person who can produce, and they see me as a teammate who can produce in a lot of different ways."
Orlando coach Steve Clifford likes the production Gordon has brought to the team at the power forward position.
"Aaron's playing at a super high level, and we need that," Clifford said. "We're a different team. With the injuries that we've had, that's a position where we need good play, and he's playing almost exclusively there now, and he's not just scoring. He's playing an all-around game."
The Magic took the first meeting of the year from San Antonio, 111-109, on Nov. 15 in Orlando. The Spurs have won 15 of the last 20 meetings overall between the teams and eight of the last 10 at home.
--Field Level Media