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5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3020:30 ET6:30 PM CT23:30 , October 20, 2021
AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas  Attendance: 16,697

Rebuilding Magic, Spurs tip off season taking the long view

According to STATS
According to STATS

Orlando Magic at San Antonio Spurs

  1. The Spurs have won 45 of their 64 all-time games against Orlando. The 45 wins are tied for the most wins by the Spurs against an Eastern Conference opponent since the Magic joined the NBA in 1989 (also Washington and Boston).
  2. Orlando finished last season with the lowest field-goal percentage in the NBA at 42.9 percent. It was the lowest season-long field-goal percentage by any team over the last five seasons and the Magic's worst output in their last 20 seasons.
  3. Entering his 10th NBA season, Terrence Ross averaged a career high of 15.6 points per game last year. Ross is returning after missing the last 16 games of last season due to injury.
  4. Starting in 2009, San Antonio has won 11 of its last 12 season openers with its only loss coming in 2015 against Oklahoma City. No other NBA team has more than nine season-opening wins in that span.
  5. Born in December of 2002, 18-year-old Joshua Primo would become the youngest player to play in an NBA game for the Spurs with an appearance. Only Tony Parker has played for the Spurs before his 20th birthday.
  6. Jamahl Mosley will be making his NBA debut as a head coach after 14 seasons as an assistant for Denver, Cleveland and Dallas. His counterpart, Greg Popovich, has been head coach for 2,247 NBA games (regular season and playoffs), which is third-most in NBA history.

The San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic will look to take positive first steps in rebuilding and making a trip back to the playoffs when the teams open their respective NBA seasons on Wednesday in the Alamo City.

The Spurs (33-39 in 2020-21) will be younger and unproven, with DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills and Rudy Gay no longer with the team. There is still plenty of talent as guards Lonnie Walker IV, Derrick White and Dejounte Murray, forward Keldon Johnson and center Jakob Poeltl return.

Veteran Bryn Forbes returns for a second stint in San Antonio. Zach Collins, Doug McDermott and Thaddeus Young also have joined the cluo, and the Spurs drafted Josh Primo and Joe Wieskamp to help bolster their bench.

The Spurs missed the playoffs for just the second time since 1997 last season and look to be in retooling mode instead of being a contender in the loaded Western Conference. Still, any team that emphasizes defense like San Antonio has under the tutelage of coach Gregg Popovich can play with anyone at any time.

"Good things happen over time," Murray said. "There's no such thing as overnight success that lasts long. We have to be confident, believe in one another, trust one another, have fun with one another. I see the work, see the growing, see how much we like each other."

Popovich, in his 26th season, said he relishes the challenge of developing the Spurs' new talent and melding his new team. He became just the third coach to reach 1,300 wins late last season and begins the 2021-22 campaign just 25 victories in arrears of Don Nelson, the all-time leader in career wins (1,335).

The Magic (21-51 last season) will head to San Antonio with one of the NBA's youngest rosters. Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac are both coming off knee injuries and are expected to join top draft choice Jalen Suggs, leading returning scorer Terrence Ross (15.6 points per game) and center Wendell Carter Jr. in Orlando's starting lineup.

That quintet will be augmented by a bench that highlights Cole Anthony, who started most of last season when Fultz was on the shelf, rookie Moritz Wagner, former Denver draft pick RJ Hampton, center Mo Bamba and veterans Gary Harris, Robin Lopez and Michael Carter-Williams.

Orlando's average age is 24.7 years, the third-youngest roster in the league behind only Oklahoma City (23.5) and Memphis (24).

The Magic have made the playoffs just twice in the past nine seasons. They will be tested to score and win and need find a go-to player. Until they do, new coach Jamahl Mosley, who was formerly an assistant at Dallas, will try to win with defense and athleticism.

"We've said it from Day One -- it's about us getting better every single day," Mosley told the Orlando Sentinel. "It's about us playing hard. It's about us coming together and working as a team every day. The results will absolutely take care of themselves if we do that."

"We're not going to put a number (of wins) on it versus us just coming to do the work every single day and getting better."

--Field Level Media

Updated October 19, 2021

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