A national TV audience was treated to one of the best games of the season featuring 10 lead changes in the last four minutes. Duncan and McGrady repeatedly made big shots or found open teammates for key baskets.
“We have a lot of games like this,” Duncan said. “We don’t have too many blowouts on either end. We’re pretty much a hard-nosed team and kind of go back and forth with teams.”
McGrady gave the Magic their last lead at 108-107 with a fadeaway jumper from the foul line with 13 seconds remaining, forcing the Spurs to call timeout.
Duncan took a pass at the left elbow, dribbled past Andrew DeClercq into the lane and put up a banker that missed. His tip attempt hit the front of the rim but he regained control and put in a short banker.
“It was a play designed for a jump shot from the elbow,” Duncan said. “I had the space to kind of get to the middle. On my move, I got hit in the eye and didn’t think I was going to get it off. I just kind of threw it up there. I just followed it.”
“Tim had a smart move at the end, throwing the ball. He was stuck,” McGrady said. “We played great defense and he just threw the ball off the glass and got his own rebound back, got it again, took it in.”
Magic coach Doc Rivers wanted DeClercq to foul Duncan before he could put up the follow shot.
“It’s tough when you’re coaching,” Rivers said. “You’re thinking that if they get the offensive rebound, let’s foul the big guy.”
McGrady’s potential game-winning 20-footer missed, and Duncan rebounded before time expired.
“We played our (rear) off. That’s a helluva ballclub over there,” McGrady said. “We fought them as hard as we could fight and all it boils down to is who got the last stop, and they got the last stop.”
Although both superstars had huge games, neither shot well. Duncan had 23 points, 17 rebounds six assists and three blocks, making 10-of-24 shots. McGrady had 35 points, seven rebounds and six assist, making 15-of-16 shots.
“It’s great to make them (game-winning shots), but you take some and you make some, and you miss some and have to live with it,” Duncan said.
Tony Parker had 20 points and 13 assists and David Robinson had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who improved to 2-1 on their nine-game road trip. San Antonio had six players in double figures.
“Tony was scoring for himself, finding other people, running the show,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him. At that young age (20), he’s really showing a lot of composure.”
Duncan returned from a brief rest with 4:34 to go, and McGrady’s jumper less than 40 seconds later gave Orlando a 97-96 edge with 3:55 left.
Duncan found Robinson for a basket and dunked himself around a jumper by Orlando’s Darrell Armstrong, giving San Antonio a 100-99 edge with 2:22 remaining.
McGrady, who had his seventh straight 30-point game, answered with a three-point play 11 seconds later, then found Garrity for a jumper and a 104-100 lead with 1:32 to play.
“T-Mac was awesome,” Rivers said. “For a star player to give the ball up down the stretch to Pat Garrity … It’s tough for a star player to give that up.”
Robinson made a jumper and Parker drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, giving the Spurs a 105-104 lead with 53 seconds remaining.
“Leadership-wise is where he has improved the most,” Duncan said. “He’s shooting the ball better and is a lot more confident on the court. He’s a different player. He understands that this is his team and he has to run it, and he’s willing to take it.” “I love his game,” McGrady said. “He penetrates extremely well. He does a great job of running that ballclub. In transition he’s a hell of a player.”
McGrady penetrated and shoveled a pass to DeClrecq, who put in a layup with 39 seconds to go. Robinson gave the Spurs a 107-106 lead with a pair of free throws 13 seconds later.
“Both teams put on a great show for the fans,” Popovich said. “Both teams competed real hard. We just happened to make the last shot. Lots of times, games come down to that. We were just fortunate enough to make it. That game belonged to anybody.”
Armstrong scored 13 points for the Magic, who shot 49 percent (46-of-94) and made 11-of-13 free throws.
An alley-oop pass from Parker to Robinson resulted in a dunk and capped a 20-3 run that gave San Antonio a 48-34 lead with 5:45 left in the second quarter. Orlando responded with an 18-6 surge that featured eight points by McGrady and cut the deficit to a bucket at halftime.