In the third straight down-to-the-wire finish at Amway Center, the Orlando Magic fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 86-81, to end their three-game overall winning streak and five-game home winning streak.
Zach Randolph scored 20 points to lead a balanced Memphis attack: four players scored between 12 and 20 points.
The Grizzlies took control in the early going, in terms of play style if not on the actual scoreboard: though their own middling offense made their lead seem surmountable, the Grizzlies dictated the speed at which Orlando played its game. By gumming up Orlando's interior, Memphis prevented the Magic from getting easy looks and turned them into a team of jump-shooters.
Whether it was the Grizzlies' defense, the Magic's mentally checking out in advance of the All-Star Break, some combination of those two factors, or something else entirely, the home team lacked energy in the first half. Victor Oladipo provided some with a coast-to-coast slam off a steal, but speaking generally, the ball seemed to stick when Orlando had possession.
And though Memphis isn't a running team, it capitalized on its limited fast-break chances by leaking out on live-ball turnovers, scoring eight fast-break points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first half to Orlando's four. Memphis isn't what one would call a crisp half-court team, but Randolph offered enough back-to-basket scoring to lift the Grizzlies to a 42-34 lead at half.
Orlando played much sharper in the second half and managed to get Arron Afflalo involved: after a scoreless first half, the veteran swingman shot 3-of-5 in the third quarter for eight points, including a triple to give the Magic a 53-52 lead, their first since opening the game with a 2-0 advantage.
Once again, the Magic opened the fourth quarter with their second unit, and once again doing so paid dividends: Orlando trimmed two points off the Grizzlies' lead with the so-called Young Guns on the floor.
The lead changed six times and the score was tied once in the final six minutes of the fourth. Randolph's jumper with 1:39 to play gave the visitors the lead for good, answering a Jameer Nelson layup on Orlando's previous possession.
Afflalo committed a costly clear-path foul, which call the officials held up after video review--with 35.7 seconds to play. Courtney Lee made two free throws to put Memphis up by three points. On the ensuing play, Randolph rambled into the lane and lofted in a lefty hook to put the visitors up five with 20.5 seconds to play, sealing the victory.