Spurs Hold off Francis, Magic with a 94-91 Win

By Gregory Moore
Updated: December 16, 2004

SAN ANTONIO – Steve Francis has done this one too many times in his six seasons as a professional basketball player.

He’s had the ball in his hands when the game was on the line and Wednesday was no different as with just mere seconds left and his team down three to San Antonio, Francis tried to put up a miracle shot of his own to send the game to overtime.

But his shot was long and just a tad bit too late as the Spurs held on to a 94-91 win against Francis and the Orlando Magic.

“That play just didn’t come off like I intended,” Francis said. “We were hoping somebody would pop open off the penetration and nobody did. But really, we never should have been in that position to begin with.” Francis had a point. In the third quarter the Magic had the Spurs down by as much as twelve points but the Spurs just kept battling back. Led by Tim Duncan’s 24 points, the Spurs clawed their way back into the game and eventually got back on top of the Magic with a series of defensive stops and timely shooting from it’s bench.

“It was a very good win for us against a good basketball team,” Gregg Popovich said in his press conference. “They are a very talented, athletic team.” The Spurs were able to get 35 points from it’s bench Wednesday as Devin Brown and Malik Rose stepped up and helped out with scoring. They also did a fabulous job on the boards down the stretch to help preserve the win.

“The bench played really well,” Tony Parker said. “Beno (Udrich) hit some big threes that got us back in the game and Devin (Brown) did a great job running the floor and is playing with more confidence every game.” Francis’ 20 points led the Magic while Cuttino Mobley scored 21 points and Grant Hill had 18 points.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Hill said. “This is a hard game and the last of a long six games on the West Coast road trip. Many teams might just pack it in but we can build on tonight’s effort.” Next up for the Spurs will be New Orleans on Friday and Golden State on Saturday.

GAME NOTES: Sean Elliot will have his jersey retired on March 6, 2005 by the Spurs. Elliott spent all but one year with the Spurs and retired in 1999. It was on Memorial Day of 1999 that Elliott’s most famous shot in the Alamodome catapulted him into NBA lore. Against the Portland Trailblazers and with the game clock winding down, Elliott hit an impossible three deep from the right baseline to put his team up by one point. The Spurs went on to sweep the Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals to eventually become the 1999 NBA champions. Elliot’s jersey makes him the fifth player to have this honor bestowed upon him. He joins teammate David Robinson along with Johnny Moore, James Silas and George Gervin as players who have had their jerseys retired.