Grizzlies 88, Magic 82

The Sports Xchange
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 eight 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.
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.
Arron Affalo topped Orlando with 20 points.
It was the sixth straight win for the Grizzlies (36-18), who next play at Brooklyn at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The Grizzlies came out of the gate acting like it would be an easy night. They were sloppy, committing three quick turnovers and missing two shots.
Eventually, Memphis turned to Randolph and Gasol, who dominated the inside combining for 16 points and five rebounds as Memphis edged ahead 22-21 at the end of the first quarter.
The Grizzlies trailed by five points at 8:20 before halftime, but then started pushing the pace. Memphis closed the half on an 8-0 run in the final 2:48.
The Grizzlies finally got a smidge of separation in their last two possessions of the half when they ran variations of the same play.
With Tayshaun Prince at the point and Mike Conley on the left wing, Prince dribbled toward the wing and handed the ball to Conley, who swished a 21-footer.
On the Grizzlies' final possession of the period, Prince began a drive to his right, spun left and hit a 9-foot fade just before the halftime buzzer for a 43-38 lead at the break.
Memphis came out of the dressing room in third quarter and turned up the heat. Finally realizing that the Magic had a major depth problem, the Grizzlies intensified the pace.
Suddenly, the shots that Orlando had dropped early in the game began missing, fatigue being a factor perhaps. Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins sent in a steady stream of players, and Memphis opened a 67-53 advantage after three quarters.
The Magic had no one who could stop Gasol and Randolph. They, as well as backup power forward Ed Davis, consistently got the ball on the block, and scored.
It more than compensated for the Grizzlies' lousy 3-point shooting (2 of 11) and horrible free-throw performance (8 of 17).
NOTES: 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 Magic trading J.J. Redick to Milwaukee.

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