By Tim Price, for NBA.com
Posted Saturday April 3, 2010 12:44AM
SAN ANTONIO (NBA.com exclusive) -- Manu Ginobili scored a season-high 43 points Friday night, but it wasn't the only thing the Orlando Magic could not contain. They could not keep a handle on their own emotions.
Dwight Howard fouled out, fans heckled him afterward, and Orlando players argued with at least one fan behind their bench as everything unraveled in a 112-100 loss to the Spurs at AT&T Center, a game that also saw Spurs coach Gregg Popovich ejected in the first half.
Howard fouled out with three minutes left in the game and Orlando trailing by eight. He'd scored 10 points, but was just 2-11 from the free-throw line and had only six boards one night after a 20-rebound effort in Dallas.
"I'd rather play the game out, rather than just fouling," Howard said. "When we see them again next year, or whenever we see them, it will be a different outcome.
"Just make sure that when we play them again and if they do the same thing, it's going to be a different result. I'm looking forward to it. I told our guys the next time we see these guys we're gotta put it to them."
There's something about these two teams that causes their big men to throw in clunkers when they meet. Last month in Orlando, while the Spurs were absorbing their worst loss in a 110-84 drubbing, Tim Duncan shot 1-for-10 and had five points.
Howard said he was frustrated with the intentional hacking that sent him to the line, a strategy the Spurs employed as Howard missed his first eight foul shots. But Magic coach Stan Van Gundy indicated that what comes around goes around.
"Everybody in the league has frustrating nights," Van Gundy said. "I saw Tim Duncan, after 12 years, have one of those frustrating nights against us in Orlando.
"So, let's not pretend it's just Dwight. I saw one of the calmest guys in the league (Duncan) do nothing but complain the whole night when he was in Orlando. It happens to everybody."
Duncan rebounded this time. Despite being called for his third foul and sitting the rest of the first half after the opening 4 ½ minutes of the game, Duncan finished with 23 points in 24 minutes -- 19 of those came in the second half when San Antonio outscored Orlando 58-44. He was 10-for-12 from the floor for the Spurs (46-29).
But Ginobili was the real problem for the Magic (53-23). He was 13-for-25 despite almost constant double teaming, often with one big coming in to help on the trap.
"Manu was obviously unbelievable," Duncan said.
He dribbled around, through, and made it to the lane enough that the Spurs outscored the Magic 62-38 in the paint.
Ginobili also shot 14-for-17 from the free-throw line, where the Magic went 12-for-26.
Jameer Nelson said the Magic won't let the second-half blowup derail their season.
"To be honest with you, I think since the All-Star break we have the best record in the NBA," he said. "You win games, you lose games, and guys get hot on you. They went to (Ginobili) at least 85 percent of the time, and he did a good job."
Orlando had four starters in double figures, and they also got key performances from Mickael Pietrus (18 points on 7-for-9 shooting, 2-for-3 on threes) and J.J. Redick (15 points) off then bench.
Van Gundy said the play by Pietrus and Redick was the reason he turned to them rather than Matt Barnes, who did not play after a visible disagreement on the floor with Van Gundy.
"He (Barnes) was frustrated, too," Van Gundy said.
Kind of a heated game this was. Pop getting double T'd and ejected in the first half, then after Dwight fouls out you can him and a fan behind the bench going back and fourth. The fan was also kicked out of the game. Great win for us, we've been able to beat a lot of good teams lately and our play seems to be coming together.