for this game

Ginobili catches fire as Spurs rout Magic

Mar 3, 2007 - 5:41 AM SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Manu Ginobili exacted a measure of revenge on the Orlando Magic.

Catching fire from the arc, Ginobili scored 31 points off the bench and Tim Duncan added 19 and 10 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs rode their star guard to a 98-74 victory over the Magic.

Winners of seven straight, the Spurs now are 8-2 with Ginobili coming off the bench this season. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich praised Ginobili but was more impressed with his team's defensive cohesion.

"The guy made shots. He's a (heck) of a player," Hill said. "You have to decide whether you want him driving to the basket or you want him pulling up and shooting behind screens. Quite honestly, we'd rather have him shooting behind screens."

The Spurs played tough on the defensive end as well, holding the Magic to 43 percent (28-of-65) shooting, forcing 16 turnovers and holding a 43-35 edge on the boards.

"We had good team defense and that fueled a lot of our offense," Popovich said. "When the offense is up and down most night against most teams, it was good to have the defense consistent. Manu had a (heck) of a game. He got us the lead and we kept it."

In the last meeting between the squads on February 9, All-Star Dwight Howard made a one-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass with less than a second left to lead Orlando to a 106-104 victory over San Antonio in one of the most exciting games in the NBA this season.

"Sure they were (trying to send a message)," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "They're an elite team. The elite teams, when they lose to somebody, they look to pay you back. We knew it was going to be a hard game coming in.

"But, quite honestly, down eight at the end of the third quarter, I didn't feel bad on the road. But you have to go from eight to six or four, and not eight to 20, and we weren't able to do that."

Ginobili made sure there was a different outcome this time around, shooting 11-of-19 from the field - including 6-of-9 from the arc. He was on an incredible roll, draining shots from all angles.

"I was feeling so comfortable with the shot, and so confident, that I probably took a couple I shouldn't have," Ginobili said.

Leading, 62-57, with eight seconds left in the third quarter, the Spurs closed the game on a 36-17 run. Ginobili scored 12 points during the burst, including two 3-pointers and two three-point plays during a remarkable stretch.

His shot from the arc that ended the third quarter sparked the late-game flourish.

"It was a drawn play. (Popovich) drew it up," Ginobili said. "Sometimes, those shots are easier than the others because you have no pressure. You know you have to shoot it, and no one is going to say anything."

Howard was silent for most of the night, collecting just nine points and nine rebounds for Orlando,

"They played him pretty physical there tonight," Hill said. "He didn't get a lot of calls. They came with double-teams. We did a decent job of passing out of them but couldn't make shots. Then, the double-teams come even harder when you're not making shots."

  • NBA
    ORLANDO 74

    Mar 2 10:25 PM

  • NBA
    ORLANDO 57

    Mar 2 9:54 PM

  • NBA
    ORLANDO 33

    Mar 2 9:11 PM

  • NBA
    ORLANDO 16

    Mar 2 8:37 PM