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Short-handed Magic fall short against Grizzlies

The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS -- If the Orlando Magic could have scheduled Friday's game at home instead playing on the road, they might have had a chance against the Memphis Grizzlies.

At least then the Magic, down to seven players in uniform after being gutted by two Thursday trades, could have recruited the Seven Dwarfs from Disney World to round out its depth-depleted roster.

Despite not having enough bodies, the gritty Magic hung in to the end before the Grizzlies finally escaped with an 88-82 victory at FedExForum.

"This is the NBA and guys have pride, so I knew it would be a challenge from the jump," Grizzlies' guard Tony Allen said. "Those guys were tough. I like the way they fought."

Orlando (15-40) trailed 74-71 with 4:22 left before the Grizzlies went back to doing what it did earlier in the game -- feeding Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph and let them make decisions.

And those decisions translated into a win for the Grizzlies with Gasol (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Randolph (16 points, 14 rebounds) leading the way.

"We went inside and attacked and our bigs came through," said Grizzlies' coach Lionel Hollins, whose 36-18 team is sandwiched between the Clippers and the Nuggets for fourth place in the Western Conference.

"Even when we attacked, we still gave up too much on the defensive end. We were loose in the pick-and-rolls and they were able to attack."

The Magic, though losing for the 27th time in the last 30 games, had nothing to be ashamed about, considering their roster upheaval.

They traded veteran shooting guard J.J. Redick, center Gustavo Ayon and reserve point guard Ish Smith to the Bucks in exchange for guards Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih, and forward Tobias Harris.

In a separate trade, Orlando acquired former Grizzlies starting forward Hakim Warrick and cash considerations from Charlotte in exchange for Josh McRoberts. Orlando intends to waive Warrick.

Redick, in the final year of a three-year $19 million deal, is averaging career highs in points (15.1) and field-goal percentage (45.0).

"I was extremely proud of the effort and the competitiveness," Magic coach Jacques Vaughn said. "It was just good to see from start to finish. It was a collective spirit, guys pulling for each other. There was accountability among each other."

The areas in which the Grizzlies usually destroy opponents -- points in the paint and second-chance points -- were not big advantages for Memphis. They outscored the Magic 40-32 in the paint and 13-8 in second-half points, and that was with Nikola Vucevic, Orlando's center who had 11 rebounds, fouling out with 8:34 left to play.

"I'm very proud of the way our young guys fought," said Magic guard Arron Affalo, who had a team-high 20 points. "Even when the game seemed out of reach, they battled back. I will never enjoy losing, but I do enjoying growing."

It was the sixth straight win for the Grizzlies (36-18), who next play at Brooklyn at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

NOTES:Randolph has had three double-doubles (every game since the All-Star break) and now has 33 for the year. ... Magic rookie forward Maurice Harkness had 19 points, one shy of his career-high 20 he scored a few days ago at Dallas. ... Dexter Pittman, the Grizzlies' trade-day acquisition from the Miami Heat arrived in Memphis after the Grizzlies' shootaround on Friday. The 6-foot-11, 285-pound Pittman will dress, but that might be about it, although a blowout over the Magic could get him on the floor even though he knows none of the Memphis playbook. In fact, as he left the Grizzlies' dressing room about 90 minutes before tipoff to get in some shooting, he asked Randolph, "Which way is the court?" ... The Grizzlies have won five straight games, and everyone is doing their part of fill the scoring void left by Rudy Gay's trade to Toronto. Conley is averaging 16.3 points on 49.2 percent shooting in his last six games, and it's no accident. "With Rudy gone, we knew there was a void left on the perimeter where we needed some scoring," Conley said. "I took it upon myself and J.B. (Jerryd Bayless) has done it as well to be more aggressive looking for our shots. We've also been trying to create something in late-game situations. We know Marc (Gasol) and Zach (Randolph) are going to do what they do (on the inside), so myself, J.B. and Tay (Tayshaun Prince) need to step up (from the outside)." ... Memphis has four straight home wins over the Magic. ... Orlando is 3-26 in its last 29 games. ... The Grizzlies lead the league in number of games (45) holding opponents to fewer than 100 points. ... Orlando is shooting 33.7 percent from 3-point range, but that percentage might take a hit with the Redick trade.

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