GAMEDAY AT A GLANCE
Orlando Magic (20-47) vs. Spurs (37-30)
When, where: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center
Season series: Spurs lead 1-0
Last meeting: Magic 114, Spurs 87, Oct. 27, Orlando, Fla.
Magic’s last game: Lost to Clippers 113-105, Saturday, Los Angeles
Spurs’ last game: Lost to Rockets 109-93, Monday, Houston
Magic’s last 10 games, streak: 2-8, lost four
Spurs’ last 10 games, streak: 2-8, lost three
Spurs’ injury report: Kawhi Leonard (rehabbing quad injury) is out for Tuesday's game.
Notable: The Spurs dropped to 10th in the Western Conference standings after Monday night’s loss in Houston. San Antonio is 3-11 since Feb. 1 and 2-6 after the All-Star break . . . Twelve of the Spurs' last 15 games are against opponents over .500, including Golden State and Houston . . . Tuesday night’s meeting with Orlando is the start of a six-game home stand for the Silver and Black.
A generation of Spurs fans has grown up not knowing what it's like to see the Silver and Black miss the playoffs. If the Spurs don't pull out of their nosedive pronto, those young loyalists won't have a team to root for when the NBA's postseason starts next month.
Monday night's 109-93 road loss to Western Conference leader Houston dropped the Spurs (37-30) from seventh to 10th in the West standings with 15 games left on their schedule. With the top eight teams in each conference advancing to the playoffs, the Silver and Black find themselves on the outside looking in.
The Spurs went winless in a brutal three-game road trip that ended against the Rockets. They open a six-game home stand Tuesday night against Orlando, which is tied with Atlanta for last place in the Eastern Conference. The Magic routed the Silver and Black 114-87 in their first meeting Oct. 27 in Orlando, Fla.
Injured All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard is out for Tuesday night's game but All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the team's leading scorer, will return after missing the game against Houston with a sore knee.
Reports had Leonard returning to the lineup against New Orleans on Thursday, but Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, citing sources, reported Tuesday afternoon that Leonard won't play against the Pelicans.
ESPN's Lisa Salters reported before the Spurs' game in Oklahoma City on Saturday that sources told her Leonard could return to action Thursday. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters Monday night that he planned to talk with Leonard on Tuesday about his impending return.
Leonard told reporters last week that he could play again "soon," but gave no timetable for his return. A lingering quad injury has limited Leonard to only nine games this season, and he hasn't played since Jan. 13.
A lot has changed for the Spurs since their previous meeting with the Magic. The Silver and Black were third in the West as recently as Feb. 26, but 11 losses in their last 14 games finally took their toll.
Worse, San Antonio has the toughest schedule in the stretch run of the season, with 12 of its last 15 games against opponents over .500 and fighting for a playoff spot. They still have one game left against both defending league champion Golden State and Houston. Both games are at home, but the Warriors and Rockets already have won at the AT&T Center this season.
And one of the three teams under .500 still left on S.A.'s schedule, the Los Angeles Lakers, have beaten the Spurs at home and at the AT&T Center this season.
Whichever way you slice it, the Silver and Black face an uphill battle in the last month of the season. They're not out of playoff contention yet, but they're getting precariously close to missing the postseason for the first time since 1997, when Tim Duncan was a senior at Wake Forest.
San Antonio has made the playoffs for each of the past 20 seasons and won five league titles, becoming a model of consistency in pro sports.
Next up for the Spurs after Tuesday's game: vs. New Orleans, Thursday, 7:30 p.m., AT&T Center.