Summing it up
Most teams would be noticeably disrupted by the absence of an All-Star point guard. Not the Spurs, who rode their vaunted depth — with a healthy assist from their opponent’s mediocrity — to a comfortable victory over Orlando. Listed with a mild right ankle sprain, Tony Parker could have, and likely would have, played if the stakes were higher. But Spurs coach Gregg Popovich bet his team could make do with Houston coming into the A&T Center on Saturday.
Did they ever. They shot 55 percent to offset 19 turnovers, and used three huge runs to control the game: 22-10 spanning the first and second quarters to erase an early deficit; 22-3 late in the second to blow open what had been a 1-point game, and 12-0 to start the fourth after the Magic pulled to within 11. It was an emphatic comeback from their loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday, one that required no Spur to play more than 27 minutes despite Parker’s rest.
Player of the game
While Marco Belinelli only tied Tim Duncan for team-high honors with 19 points, it was his timing that separated him from the Big Fundamental. Belinelli was a perfect 4 for 4 on 3-pointers, and they all seemed to be important. They came in pairs, with the first brace coming near the start of the big surge near the end of the second quarter. Then came the fourth quarter, which he opened with the second set to put the Magic down after they climbed to within 11.
The decisive moment
The game was kinda-sorta in doubt to start the fourth. Four minutes later, what had been an 11-point lead was up to 23 courtesy of another game-changing performance from the Foreign Legion. In addition to Belinelli’s 3s, Patty Mills had a pair of buckets as they accounted for 10 of 12 points to open the period. Mills finished with eight, Manu Ginobili scored 11 and Cory Joseph added 13 to earn official induction into the Legion.
Summing it up