In an 82-game season, it is human nature to take a few nights off against lesser competition and coast on talent alone. And this is exactly the challenge that the San Antonio Spurs had to face against the feeble Orlando Magic. The challenge was met and defeated with a 121-112 victory.
After coming off a very emotional game against the Miami Heat on Thursday, the Spurs looked a bit sluggish and possibly mentally fatigued, but it was Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili who pushed them through the proverbial late-season fog.
Parker looked to be inching toward his peak-level by scoring 11 points in the first frame. He would go on to torch the Magic for 30 points and five assists on the night. The vacation that Gregg Popovich gave Parker last month looks to be bearing a great return on investment.
But it was Ginobili and his 24 points off the bench which got the Spurs over the hump. In his 27 minutes of action, Ginobili was able to cash in on 10-of-17 shooting with great shot selection. His involvement on the boards and dribble-penetration were huge for the San Antonio offense. His activity on both ends of the floor created more opportunities for his teammates.
This game was not a pretty one that the Spurs will sit back and enjoy, but it was a grind-out game that they needed. Much of the playoffs will resemble this type of game and the most successful teams figure out how to win as the Spurs did.