ORLANDO, Fla. -- Center Dewayne Dedmon is having a lot more fun with the San Antonio Spurs than he ever had with the Orlando Magic. Winning does that. Dedmon, who played the previous three seasons in Orlando, returned with the Spurs on Wednesday night, helping them to an easy, 107-79 victory over his former team. Dedmon started his 12th game in place of injured Pau Gasol, scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, recording his fifth double-double of the season. "It's a lot more fun when you're winning games," Dedmon said. "It's fun when you know you're playing for a team trying to win a title." The Magic won 23, 25 and 35 games in his three seasons in Orlando, never coming close to the playoffs. The Spurs won their 43rd game Wednesday, second most this season in the NBA. They are contenders -- as usual. "We have high expectations here," guard Tony Parker said. "We have an eye on the big picture." Marcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 23 points Wednesday. Kawhi Leonard had 22. The Spurs (43-13) never trailed, while the Magic (21-37) lost for the fifth time in six games. The Spurs did not play their starters -- except for Dedmon -- in the fourth quarter. "He has been stupendous for us," Spurs coch Gregg Popovich said. "He has been absolutely super. He runs the floor, rebounds, guards well and gives us energy. He's been a great teammate for everyone." Reserve Patty Mills scored 13 points and hit three of his seven 3-point attempts. Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili, who had two points, left limping early in the fourth quarter with a twisted left ankle. Center Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Forwards Aaron Gordon and Jeff Green each scored 11 points. Evan Fournier had nine points. "The Spurs play hard and they play with discipline," Fournier said. "They think about winning all the time and making the Finals. They just have a vision about them. It's a force of habit. Doesn't matter what time of the game it is. They play hard." The Magic traded starting power forward Serge Ibaka to the Toronto Raptors for swingman Terrence Ross on Tuesday, but Ross was not cleared to play. They Magic looked lost without Ibaka. The Spurs dominated around the basket with a 50-33 rebound advantage. They scored 42 points from inside the lane and led by as many as 30 points late in the game. The Magic never got closer than 18 points in the fourth quarter. The Spurs also shot 47.2 percent from the field, while the Magic shot just 39.5 percent. "We were poor executing what we were trying to do defensively tonight," Magic coach Frank Vogel said. "We've got a lot of work to do. We were careless with the turnovers and it was costly." The Magic made an 11-0 run midway in the third period -- including a 3-pointer by Elfrid Payton -- when they cut the deficit to 12 points. The Spurs pulled away. Leonard scored seven points in the first three minutes of the second half, squelching any thoughts of a serious Magic comeback. The Spurs led 54-37 at intermission, capitalizing on the early, sloppy play of the Magic, who had 14 turnovers in the first two periods. Leonard had 15 points and Aldridge 13 in the first half when the Spurs led by as many as 25. The Spurs scored first and never trailed when they hit 23 of their 46 shots. Aldridge did as he pleased in the first quarter, hitting six of his seven shots. He was guarded by Green, who moved into the starting lineup Wednesday when the Magic traded power forward Serge Ibaka the day before. Vucevic had six points and seven rebounds in the first half. Green and C.J. Watson each had seven points before intermission. NOTES: Magic coach Frank Vogel said the trade that sent PF Serge Ibaka to Toronto for G/F Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick would change his team's style of play. "We're making a movement toward playing smaller," Vogel said. "We tried to play a lot of big lineups before, and it hurt us at both ends." ... The Magic beat the Spurs earlier in San Antonio, a highlight of Orlando's woeful season. ... The Spurs came into Wednesday night shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range, best in the NBA, and were allowing only 98.7 points per game, second best in the league. ... The Magic's embattled GM Rob Hennigan, who has been under fire recently for questionable roster moves, gave this assessment when discussing his trade of Ibaka: "As we've watched our team play over the course of the season, clearly something's amiss. Something is not clicking," he said.
Spurs demolish hapless Magic
The Sports Xchange | Feb 15