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Grizzlies enjoy easy win over Magic

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO -- Veteran Tayshaun Prince gave the Memphis Grizzlies something they badly needed -- his championship experience -- when he arrived by trade a month ago.

They have given him something in return -- a new spark to his career.

Prince scored a game-high 14 points Sunday night as the Grizzlies coasted to an easy 108-82 victory over the Orlando Magic, helping fuel a belief that Memphis could become a real factor at playoff time.

The Grizzlies have won nine of their last 10 games and 10 of the 13 since the trade that brought Prince from Detroit, where he won an NBA title in 2004 but has labored through a recent rebuilding process.

"Anytime you go from a team that's out of the playoff picture to one that's in contention, it's going to spark a fire in your belly," Prince said after the victory Sunday. "They had something good going here, and I just want to help it along."

The Grizzlies (39-19) were without leading scorer and All-Star Zach Randolph -- out with a sprained ankle -- but it didn't slow their ability to dominate a game Sunday.

They never trailed after Prince opened the game with a 3-point basket.

"This was a great situation for me. It's a team that emphasized defense, and that was right up my alley," he said. "It was easy to fit defensively. I'm just trying to see where I fit on offense."

The Grizzlies are off to the best start in franchise history. They may have given up a younger Rudy Gay in the three-team trade that landed Prince, but no one is regretting it now.

"He (Prince) has meant a lot to this team," said center Marc Gasol. "The mindset he brings, his experience, the things he can do, are really going to help us as we move forward."

Gasol was one of six Memphis players to reach double-figure scoring. He had 12 points and a career-high 11 assists. Point guard Mike Conley had 13 points and four assists. Tony Allen had 13 points and five rebounds.

The Magic (16-44) were led by Arron Afflalo, Andrew Nicholson and E'Twaun Moore, each with 12 points. Maurice Harkless had 11 points. It was the sixth time this season the Magic have lost a home game by 24 points or more.

The Grizzlies are 18-0 this season when scoring 100 points or more. They shot 53 percent from the field (44 of 83), and they are 10-1 this season when they shoot 50 percent or better.

Their defense, which is one of the stingiest in the league, smothered the Magic from start to finish. The addition of Prince made one of the NBA's best defensive teams just a little bit better defensively.

"There was good chemistry here, and a good fit for me. Some of the guys ask me about my past experiences, so I try and help out as much as I can. I've been in a lot of situations," Prince said. "Hopefully, that will help down the road."

The Grizzlies led 60-35 at halftime, when they made 25 of 42 field-goal attempts (59.5 percent). Conley had 11 points and reserve Ed Davis had 10. Gasol looked like a point-center early in the game with eight assists in the first two quarters.

Darrell Arthur, starting in place of Randolph, took a scary fall in the second quarter when he landed on his back and his head after getting fouled by Al Harrington while attempting to dunk.

Although he stayed in the game for a minute after taking his free-throw attempts, he left soon and never returned, complaining of headaches. He will be examined by the team's medical staff upon a return to Memphis Monday morning.

"There is no concussion," Arthur said after the game. "My back hurts and my neck hurts. That's about it."

NOTES: Zach Randolph missed Sunday's game with a sprained left ankle, sustained early in Friday night's loss to Miami. Randolph finished the Friday game and played 37 minutes, but the ankle swelled up and he was held out Sunday. He is expected back for the next game Wednesday at home against Portland. Darrell Arthur got the start, his first of the season. ... Memphis coach Lionel Hollins was raving before the game about veteran forward Tayshaun Prince, acquired a month ago in a trade from Detroit, even though he has been averaging just 8.5 points as a Grizzlies player. It's his presence and his championship experience that Hollins really likes. "He's a veteran. He talks to the young guys. He lets everyone know when things are not right, if we're not playing the right way," Hollins said. "It's been good having him." ... Magic point guard Jameer Nelson missed his sixth consecutive game with a bruised left knee. ... The Magic have used 19 different starting lineups this season, including the one Sunday that had two rookies and two second-year players. Only Arron Afflalo and Nikola Vucevic remain from the opening-night lineup. "I'd love to have had the same starting lineup we had on opening night," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "But injuries, and other things, did not cooperate."
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