The Memphis Grizzlies visited the Orlando Magic on Sunday and proved most ungrateful to their hosts, sending Orlando to a 108-82 defeat for the Magic's sixth consecutive home loss in the lowest-attended Magic game at Amway Center in the facility's history. The announced crowd of 16,020 never saw the home team lead Sunday's game as Memphis jumped out to a 29-19 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Tayshaun Prince led all scorers with 14 points, while Marc Gasol scored 12 and dished a career-best 11 assists. Arron Afflalo, E'Twaun Moore, and Andrew Nicholson scored 12 points to lead the Magic in a poor offensive showing, with the team finishing with a 39.7 percent mark from the floor.
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Memphis opened a 29-19 lead in the first period on 60 percent shooting. Tony Allen, a defensive specialist, scored nine points in the period just by cutting and being active off the ball.
The Magic shot 36.8 percent in the first quarter and committed five turnovers. They struggled to move the ball against the Grizzlies' physical defense. On one possession, center Nikola Vučević was left holding the ball about 35 feet from the basket on the right wing with only a few seconds remaining on the shot clock. He handed the ball off to Arron Afflalo, who dribbled hard to his left hoping to get a shot off. Gasol left Vučević to double Afflalo and ultimately rejected his fading three-point try as the shot clock expired.
A scary scene unfolded early in the second quarter as Al Harrington fouled Darrell Arthur as the Grizzlies forward dove to the rim. Harrington leapt to contest the shot, stopping Arthur's forward momentum. But Arthur's lower body continued forward, and the back of his head slammed against the court as he landed with a thud.
The referees, to their credit, did not assess Harrington a flagrant foul, despite Arthur's hard landing. After lingering on his stomach for a few minutes, Arthur made his way to Memphis' bench under his own power. He stayed in the game and sank both free throws.
A more interesting development occurred later in the period, when Magic coach Jacque Vaughn shifted Arron Afflalo to point guard in order to team Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris, and Andrew Nicholson together. Those youngsters represent three members of Orlando's core, but Vaughn had not paired Harris and Nicholson since the Magic acquired Harris at the trading deadline.
Memphis continued to build its lead by executing its offense, with little resistance from Orlando's defense. Simple draw-and-kick action created open shots for the likes of Quincy Pondexter in the corners, and the Grizzles exploited the Magic's switches by feeding Gasol in the high post and letting him facilitate between the two offensive players who drew the switches. He finished the half with eight dimes, tying a season high.
At intermission, Memphis had made more shots in the restricted area (16) than Orlando had from anywhere (14). The Grizzlies also had a 15-0 advantage in points scored from three-point range. In sum, Memphis had a 60-35 edge and had hardly broken a sweat.
Orlando limited the Grizzlies to 22 third-period points but was unable to chip into Memphis' lead at all. The Magic's inability to get anything going on offense--to create any sort of scoring opportunity at all--did them in as they committed four turnovers for four Memphis points in the opening seven minutes. Orlando did manage to get one great look in the period, a lob dunk for Harkless off an Udrih feed and a Harris down-screen, but that opportunity was the exception which proved the rule.
Vaughn opened the fourth period with DeQuan Jones, Doron Lamb, and Kyle O`Quinn--three players who hadn't logged any minutes in the first three periods--alongside Harrington and E`Twaun Moore. That group scored eight quick points to cut Memphis' lead, which had reached 31 points, to 25 with 8:09 to play, prompting Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins to call for time. Moments later, Tony Wroten and Pondexter hit back-to-back threes to put Orlando in a 30-point hole once again. At the 2:47 mark, Wroten and Jerryd Bayless provied the highlight of the night when Wroten hit the 6-foot-3 Bayless for an alley-oop dunk as Bayless cut backdoor from the right corner. The play gave Memphis a 32-point lead, its largest of the night.
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