SAN ANTONIO – Coming off their most exhilarating victory of the season, the San Antonio Spurs admitted they had a letdown against the Orlando Magic.
A veteran roster enabled San Antonio to make that admission after escaping with a 121-112 victory over Orlando on Saturday night.
Tony Parker scored 30 points, Manu Ginobili added 24 points and Kawhi Leonard had 17 points along with two key steals late to help the Spurs win their sixth straight.
Two nights after an emotional 111-87 victory over the Miami Heat in an NBA Finals rematch, the Spurs were listless against the Southeast Division’s last-place team.
“It’s always hard after a big win against Miami, the emotions,” Parker said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t come out flat, and Orlando, they came out firing. They were shooting the ball very well from outside. They are young and they wanted to prove something. They made it hard on us but it’s a big win for us.”
Tim Duncan added 11 points and 10 rebounds as San Antonio (46-16) tied Indiana and Oklahoma City for the league’s best record.
Led by former San Antonio player and assistant Jacque Vaughn, the Magic gave his former team a tense evening before the Spurs closed it out late.
“I thought Orlando played really good basketball,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who let out a deep breath after the game. “They were aggressive. They shared it. They were in attack mode all night. I thought their defense was good. We picked our defense up and got a little more physical in the second half.”
Orlando was within 101-97 with 7 minutes remaining before San Antonio began a late run.
Ginobili lured E’Twaun Moore into hitting his right triceps, as he rose for an off-balance, fallaway, 4-meter jumper. The Argentine guard made the free throw to complete the three-point play and give San Antonio a 114-104 lead with 2:34 remaining.
Leonard followed with a steal that led to his breakaway dunk and Parker nailed a 3-pointer to put the Spurs up 119-104 with just under 2 minutes left to essentially seal the victory.
Leonard’s first steal came with San Antonio up 103-97 and Orlando coming out of a timeout. He made one of two free throws after Arron Afflalo was assessed a clear path foul.
“Those two steals were huge,” Ginobili said. “One because it was right after timeout and they ran a good play, but Kawhi with those long arms and great hands got a steal and then a fragrant foul and then a couple plays later, he basically closed the game.”
Prior to that closing run, the Magic gave the Spurs fits.
Tobias Harris scored 23 points, Nikola Vucevic added 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Afflalo had 17 points for Orlando (19-45). Maurice Harkless added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who were swept in the season series. Knicks 107, Cavaliers 97
In Cleveland, Carmelo Anthony shook off a horrid shooting start and scored 26 points, leading New York to its third straight victory.
Amare Stoudemire added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, whose winning streak began after a seven-game slide and amid reports Phil Jackson may accept a job in New York’s front office.
Kyrie Irving had 30 points, eight assists and eight rebounds for the Cavs, who retired center Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ No. 11 jersey at halftime. Jazz 104, 76ers 92
In Philadelphia, Gordon Hayward scored 22 points, Alec Burks added 19 and Utah sent the Sixers to their 16th consecutive loss.
Tony Wroten scored a career-high 30 points for the Sixers (15-47), who hadn’t dropped 16 in a row since a franchise-worst 20 straight losses during the 1972-73 season, when they finished 9-73. Grizzlies 111, Bobcats 89
In Memphis, Mike Conley scored 20 points, Zach Randolph added 16 and the Grizzlies turned up the offense in the second half to beat Charlotte.
Al Jefferson scored 17 for the Bobcats in the loss. Wizards 114, Bucks 107
In Milwaukee, Bradley Beal scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, helping Washington avoid blowing a 28-point lead and beat the Bucks.
Brandon Knight scored 25 points for Milwaukee (12-50), the first NBA team to lose 50 games this season. Clippers 109, Hawks 108
In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 27 points and eight rebounds, Chris Paul added 19 points, including a go-ahead layup in the final minute, and the Clippers beat Atlanta for their season-high seventh straight win.