The Orlando Magic suffered such a total defeat Wednesday to the San Antonio Spurs that it prompted two of the team's veteran leaders — Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo — to huddle together in the Magic locker room postgame and discuss what their team needs to do next.
Davis and Afflalo spoke quietly and calmly to each other after the 110-89 loss. When their 10-minute conversation ended, they told reporters that everyone on the Magic roster, from the oldest player to its youngest player, needs to know his role better and then follow through.
"When I think of all of those guys [on the Spurs], they know their roles extremely well," Davis said after he and Afflalo finished their talk.
"I think we still need to find out who's our guys and who's not our guys. Then everybody can kind of move on. At the same time, we need to grow. We need to find out who's our energy guy, who's our vocal guy. At times like this, we really need to bite down and check each other, as far as ourselves, and see what we can all do to make this team better."
On Wednesday night, the Magic (5-9) did nothing well.
Their performance contrasted sharply from their efforts at the start of this five-game homestand, which began with wins over the lowly Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers and an overtime loss to the Boston Celtics.
Led by veterans Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the Spurs stifled the Magic offense and carved up the Magic defense.
The Magic hit just 43 percent of their shots, while the Spurs made 52 percent of theirs.
The Magic scored just 11 fastbreak points and gave up 25.
The Magic committed 17 turnovers, leading to 16 San Antonio points.
"Despite tonight," Afflalo said, "we've got a lot of guys in this locker room who really care, who are willing and ready to make the necessary sacrifices and changes to make sure that we improve together. At what pace? I don't know.
"But we are going to start — I'm trying to use the right word — building in the right direction as a unit. Considering all the changes that's been made, you have to find an area of consistency to grow. You can't have a lot of variables every single time you step on the court."
Effort should be a given, Afflalo said.
"From an individual standpoint and from a team standpoint," he continued, "we have to know what to expect from each other and how we're going to help each other achieve those things individually so that we can grow together."
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn has said all along that he would welcome input from his players and that he wants to see his players hold each other accountable and take initiative. Davis and Afflalo didn't point fingers at any specific teammates or at anyone else. Instead, they said everyone — including themselves — needs to narrow his focus and do "something in particular that this team needs."
Vaughn didn't like what he saw during the game, either.
"You can't afford to simply walk into the game," Vaughn said. "You have to be prepared and run into the game. We were lucky that we weren't down by more at halftime, and we can't let what we do on the offensive end dictate our approach."
San Antonio (13-3) took command with a 13-0 run late in the first quarter and never relinquished control.
Ginobili led all scorers with 20 points, scoring 18 of them on 3-pointers.
The Magic received a team-high 16 points from Afflalo, who said good could come from the loss.
"When we step on the court, it's not a free-for-all in a sense," he said. "There's going to be more clarity to what's expected from each other."
Afflalo offered an example of what he meant by “clarity.” Perhaps a big man would be told that his primary task in a specific game would be to collect 12 rebounds; that specific goal, when made clear to the player and the team, then would be easier for that player to meet because he would then focus on it. And, Afflalo added, it would create a "positive vibe" in the locker room and on the court and on the bench during games.
Afflalo was asked specifically whether the desire to make roles clearer came from Vaughn or from the veterans in the locker room.
“It definitely stems from him because he’s been great with us thus far,” Afflalo answered. “Coach actually has been absolutely great, being patient with us as we try to figure things out. Some of this comes from the locker room — us just kind of getting together, along with Coach, and trying to make it happen so that we start building.
“If that leads to a win the next game, it does. But if not, at least start building so we can start focusing on consistency.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun