ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—The Memphis Grizzles finally won a close game.
The Grizzlies, who are 0-6 in games decided by three points or fewer this season, got a pair of clutch late-game 3-pointers from Navarro as they ended a six-game losing streak.
“The biggest thing was that we had some players step up when we needed it most,” Gay said. “This was a game that could have gone either way, but a lot of guys hit big shots when we needed them.”
None more so than Navarro. His 3-pointer with 2:58 left in the game ended an 11-3 Memphis run that gave the Grizzlies a 110-104 lead.
However, it was his fifth 3 of the game, with 45.6 seconds left that was the game decider. It came with the shot-clock winding down and the Grizzlies looking tentative with a 112-109 lead.
“We couldn’t handle Rudy (Gay) at all, but Navarro was the guy who really broke our back,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We simply could not stop them.”
The Magic have lost four of their last five games, including three straight at home, after starting the season with a franchise-record 16-4 record. Orlando got 31 points and 20 rebounds from Dwight Howard—the third 30-20 of his career — and 24 points from Hedo Turkoglu, but offense wasn’t the problem.
Orlando allowed Memphis to shoot 53 percent for the game, including 56.4 percent in the second half.
“We’ve got to get the will, get everybody with a defensive mentality,” guard Keyon Dooling said. “We get anything we want offensively, but we can’t win if we don’t become a better defensive team.”
The first half was a shootout with the Magic hitting 51.2 percent and Memphis making 50 percent of its shots. Most of the scoring came from the perimeter with Turkoglu leading the way for Orlando with 14 points, including a pair of 3s.
Miller also had 14 points, including two 3s, in the half for Memphis.
Howard was the only real presence in the paint. He scored 12 first-half points, including three dunks. His power inside helped Orlando rally from a 45-38 deficit to take a 59-55 advantage by halftime.
The Magic scored the first five points of the second half to push the lead to 64-55, but couldn’t pull away.
The Grizzlies scored eight straight, capped by a 3-pointer from Damon Stoudemire to keep within striking distance of the Magic.
Magic SF Rashard Lewis was inactive because of a neck spasms. … Grizzlies C Pao Gasol was inactive for the second straight game with a jammed toe. … Howard had his double-double by halftime when he had 12 points and 12 rebounds. … Memphis C Darko Milicic, who played in Orlando for 1 1/2 seasons, had four points and three rebounds in his first trip back. … The Magic play three of their next four games on the road, where they are a league-best 12-3. … Magic G Carlos Arroyo missed his third straight game with a sore left foot. Maurice Evans got his first start and had eight points and five rebounds.