Orlando (34-44) at San Antonio (60-18)

Fair Currently: San Antonio, TX
Temp: 85° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EDT Thu Apr 13, 2006
  • TV: WRBW, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Having been handed a little breathing room in their quest for the best record in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs try to move closer to clinching it as they look to cool off the Orlando Magic.

San Antonio had the night off Wednesday, but saw its lead atop the West increase to 1 1/2 games thanks to Dallas losing 114-102 to lowly Golden State.

If they beat the Magic, the Spurs could see their advantage jump to 2 1/2 games on Thursday if the Mavericks lose in Phoenix. San Antonio also has a game in hand over Dallas, which would drop to the No. 4 seed if it finishes second to its Southwest Division rival.

“We have to take care of our own business,” Spurs swingman Michael Finley said after Tuesday’s 104-95 win over Seattle. “We can’t worry about Dallas. We have to play hard and play consistent as we head towards the playoffs. If we do that we will be all right.”

Finley scored 17 points as he played 28 minutes off the bench to help fill in for Manu Ginobili, who missed his second straight game due to left calf and shin contusions. Brent Barry started for Ginobili and had 16 points in 29 minutes.

While Ginobili’s status for this game is uncertain, the Spurs hope All-Stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are back to full strength.

Duncan was still getting over the flu during Tuesday’s game, scoring 18 points on 6-of-18 shooting, though he did have 14 rebounds and five blocks. Parker recently caught the same virus, but came through with 27 points and nine assists as the Spurs reached 60 wins for the third time in franchise history.

“This is a team that won 60 games and that is a special season,” Barry said. “We are ready to go after what the city of San Antonio gets excited about, and that is the playoffs.”

The Magic are fighting hard to keep themselves in the playoff chase, playing their best basketball of the season.

They have won six straight and 10 of 11, including a 103-96 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday behind Jameer Nelson’s 27 points.

Orlando remained three games behind Chicago and Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, with four games left for all three teams.

“I tell the guys we’ve got to take care of our own business, and we’re either going to get help from somebody else or not,” Orlando coach Brian Hill said.

The Magic have not won seven straight since they won nine in a row from Jan. 30-Feb. 18, 2001.

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