Loss ends preseason
Fournier comes out of slump, but Spurs prevail with ease
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.”
The Magic’s Jonathan Isaac, right, goes up for a shot past the San Antonio Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl on Friday at Amway Center.
Orlando’s D.J. Augustin attempts a shot over Quincy Pondexter (3) of the San Antonio Spurs in Friday night’s game.