SAN ANTONIO – During player introductions, Spurs fans gave point guard Dejounte Murray the loudest cheer of the night.
Nearly a year to the day removed from suffering a season-ending knee injury, Murray took the court at the AT&T Center for the first time and looked composed, tallying 11 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 14-and-a-half minutes of action in the Spurs' first preseason game.
"I was just telling my training staff, 'Thank you for everything,'" Murray said after the game. "I know I've got a long way to go and we've got a long way to go as a unit, but it's big. I sat out the whole year, went through rehab to get back strong and get back in basketball shape, so it was great for me. I'm happy, but I know there's a lot of work to do."
"He's getting the rust off, trying to find his way and trying to do a whole lot of things at once," head coach Gregg Popovich said. "Rebound, score, pass, play 'D,' all kinds of stuff. It was just good to see him out there."
The emotional boost from Murray's return didn't translate to the score sheet. San Antonio was outscored in the third quarter 41-17 en route to a preseason-opening 125-89 loss to the Orlando Magic.
Bryn Forbes provided a spark offensively, scoring a team-high 24 points and shooting 5-for-6 from three-point range. Murray and Forbes were the only two players to score in double figures. Second-year guard Lonnie Walker IV started and tallied eight points. Rookie Keldon Johnson saw the most playing time of the Spurs' 2019 draft class, scoring 7 points in 23 minutes of action.
"Everybody's going out and playing for the first time in a while," Murray said. "We're getting used to each other, and I think everybody had fun."
Mo Bamba led the Magic in scoring with 18 points.
The Spurs will next travel to Miami for their second preseason game against the Heat on Tuesday. Tipoff at the American Airlines Arena is set for 6:30 p.m.