Published March 17, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Vince Carter had 24 points and eight assists, and the Orlando Magic smothered Tim Duncan defensively to beat the San Antonio Spurs 110-84 on Wednesday night.
Duncan had two points and was 1 for 10 from the field in the worst shooting percentage game of his career, a big reason the Spurs lost for only the second time in their last 10 games. Duncan's previous low was a 1-for-8 night against Minnesota on April 20, 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Rashard Lewis finished with 20 points, and J.J. Redick had 10 points to help the Magic win for the ninth time in 10 games. Orlando moved four games ahead of Atlanta and Boston for second in the Eastern Conference, but is still six games behind Cleveland.
A matchup of two of the NBA's dominant big men fell flat.
Howard was hardly a part of the offense with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting, with two makes coming late with the Magic up big. Duncan made the first basket of the game for the Spurs — a short hook — and then went silent.
The difference was a deeper and more rested Orlando team.
The Magic held the Spurs scoreless for almost 6 minutes in the second quarter, shutting down San Antonio with almost entirely reserves. Not even Howard — the reigning Defensive Player of the Year — was needed.
Backups Marcin Gortat, Brandon Bass, Jason Williams and Redick teamed with Matt Barnes for most of the stretch to help Orlando score 14 straight points, part of a run that gave the Magic a 48-28 lead.
The only downside during the stretch was Michael Pietrus sprained his left ankle trying to make a pass. He got twisted up and fell to the ground, grimacing in pain. He did not return.
The Spurs briefly came back behind a pair of 3-pointers by Matt Bonner and another by Ginobli, slicing the deficit to 10 points at the half.
Then Carter opened the third quarter with a trio of hard-driving layups. Carter also added an alley-oop pass to Howard — for a hard slam over Jefferson — to highlight a 13-4 Magic run that put them ahead by 22 points and all but sealed the win.
NOTES: Spurs C Greg Popovich said he had planned to sit Duncan in the second games of a back-to-back late in the season. But with his team beginning Wednesday seventh in the Western Conference, he's had to change plans. "Because of our situation, it just doesn't allow me to sit him as much," Popovich said. ... Barnes returned after missing Sunday's game with a sprained left big toe. ... Redick and Carter will likely help fill the backup SF spot if Pietrus has to miss time.