Loss ends pre­sea­son

Fournier comes out of slump, but Spurs pre­vail with ease

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS WEEKEND - By Chris Hays and Iliana Li­mon Romero

The Or­lando Magic were able to get its top play­ers on the floor, but they couldn’t close out the pre­sea­son with a vic­tory.

The Magic fell 100-81 to Spurs Fri­day night at Amway Cen­ter.

Evan Fournier snapped out of his pre­sea­son shoot­ing slump, chip­ping in 23 points for the Magic.

Rookie cen­ter Mo­hamed Bamba and sec­ond-year for­ward Jonathan Isaac both played lim­ited min­utes, shak­ing off pre­sea­son in­juries.

Magic coach Steve Clif­ford was more con­cerned with man­ag­ing min­utes, of­fen­sive flow, de­fen­sive ef­fort and at­ten­tion to de­tail dur­ing the pre­sea­son and over­all has seen progress from his team.

Pop’s view: Though Bamba played a year of col­lege bas­ket­ball just 80 miles north­east of San An­to­nio at the Univer­sity of Texas, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, in mid­sea­son form al­ready, said af­ter Fri­day’s shootaround in Or­lando he didn’t have an as­sess­ment of Bamba.

In fact, he said, “Who?” when asked about the rookie 7-footer.

In re­ac­tion to a ques­tion about what he thought of the Or­lando Magic team on film, the Spurs vet­eran coach said of San An­to­nio’s fi­nal pre­sea­son op­po­nent:

“I don’t watch any film. I have enough to do with my own team, so to try to deal with Or­lando, there’s not enough time in the day for my own team. It’s true. I’m not try­ing to be a wise guy.”

When asked what he thought about Bamba, Popovich added, “About who?”

When an­other re­porter said, “The rookie for Or­lando,” Popovich had noth­ing else to of­fer.

“I just … I don’t know. I don’t

watch any­thing,” Popovich said, shrug­ging his shoul­ders.

Of course the vet­eran Spurs coach knows who Bamba is, re­gard­less of whether he watched the rookie on film dur­ing his pre­sea­son games with the Magic. And if not, he got plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to as­sess his play Fri­day when the Spurs lined up against the Magic at Amway Cen­ter.

Ri­ley’s de­fense: In a sharp about-face from his team’s typical ap­proach, Mi­ami Heat Pres­i­dent Pat Ri­ley is­sued a state­ment Fri­day deny­ing the use of pointed pro­fan­ity in trade ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves.

In is­su­ing the state­ment, Ri­ley, for the rare time, ac­knowl­edged trade ne­go­ti­a­tions, with Tim­ber­wolves guard Jimmy But­ler hav­ing re­quested a trade.

In the wake of a re­port of con­tentious ne­go­ti­a­tions, Ri­ley, through the Heat me­dia-re­la­tions depart­ment, is­sued his state­ment shortly af­ter coach Erik Spoel­stra ad­dressed the me­dia in ad­vance of Fri­day night’s ex­hi­bi­tion against the At­lanta Hawks at Amer­i­canAir­lines Arena.

“As to what has been re­ported in the past 24 hours, I have too much re­spect for Tom Thi­bodeau and all that he’s ac­com­plished in this league,” Ri­ley said of the Tim­ber­wolves coach and team pres­i­dent. “Our con­ver­sa­tions have been noth­ing but cor­dial and I have never used that kind of lan­guage in ne­go­ti­a­tions, but I do ad­mit to telling Danny Ainge to . . .”

Ri­ley’s state­ment ended with those three pe­ri­ods, a ref­er­ence to when he en­gaged in a war of words with Bos­ton Celtics Gen­eral Man­ager Danny Ainge re­gard­ing the way LeBron James was of­fi­ci­ated while James was a mem­ber of the Heat. Ri­ley and Ainge have had a spir­ited ri­valry dat­ing to Ainge’s play­ing time with the Celtics and Ri­ley’s time as coach of the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers.

Ear­lier Fri­day, Thi­bodeau termed some of the re­port­ing on the But­ler si­t­u­a­tion, “garbage.”

JOHN RAOUX/AP

The Magic’s Jonathan Isaac, right, goes up for a shot past the San An­to­nio Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl on Fri­day at Amway Cen­ter.

SAM GREEN­WOOD/GETTY

Or­lando’s D.J. Au­gustin at­tempts a shot over Quincy Pon­dex­ter (3) of the San An­to­nio Spurs in Fri­day night’s game.

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