The Orlando Magic's inability to control the defensive glass or hang on to the basketball was their undoing in their 99-94 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. Memphis rebounded 36.8% of its misses thanks in large part to Zach Randolph, who grabbed 9 of his 19 rebounds on the offensive end in addition to leading the Grizzlies with 23 points. Dwight Howard played well in defeat, with 27 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and 6 blocked shots, but his work simply wasn't enough to compensate for the Magic's lack of frontcourt size. Power forwards Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, and Brandon Bass struggled to contain Randolph, which prompted coach Stan Van Gundy to pair Howard with backup center Marcin Gortat for a brief stretch in the fourth quarter. Orlando's second unit built a lead that ballooned to 16 points in the first half, but allowed Memphis to get right back into the game with a 20-3 run.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;|
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
I have to level with you here: I didn't get a chance to watch the game at all, and only had a chance to listen to fragments of the first half on radio. But based solely on the box score, yeah, this game was one to forget. Once again, Orlando--despite being the league's best defensive rebounding team--could not stop its opponent from getting after its own misses. Once again, the Magic coughed up a double-digit lead on the road. It's a well-worn story by now, and I'm not sure what I can add here that you don't know already.
I do think that Vince Carter will receive a heap of criticism tomorrow for taking a deep three-pointer on the aforementioned blown play, and for his 15-point performance on 6-of-15 shooting. But I'm not sure if that's entirely fair. 4 of his 6 three-point attempts came in the game's waning moments, with Orlando in desperation mode, and he missed them all. What I'm getting at is that he selected his shots well up to that point: 6 shots at the rim, 1 mid-range jumper, 2 long two-pointers, and 2 three-pointers. That's the sort of balance that Orlando needs from Carter.