With the Orlando Magic locked into the sixth seed, coach Stan Van Gundy wisely rested all his regular starters to give them a chance to rest and heal up before their first playoff game against the Indiana Pacers Saturday. Hedo Turkoglu returned to the starting lineup after a three week absence wearing a mask to protect his facial fracture, and led the Magic with 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 9 on threes, in the 88-76 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. The win enabled the Grizzlies to clinch home court advantage in the Western Conference for the first round.
After a horrible first quarter that saw Orlando get outscored 27-9, the makeshift lineup of the Magic was competitive the rest of the way, outscoring the Grizzlies 67-61 in the final three quarters. Memphis outshot Orlando 47% to 41% and outrebounded them 45-34 for the game.
Magic rookie forward Justin Harper, after scoring just 4 points this entire season, showed promise for the future by scoring 16 points on 7 of 18 shooting, including 2 of 8 on three-pointers, along with 7 rebounds in 32 minutes. Guard Von Wafer was the only other Magic player in double figures with 11 points, but shot just 4 of 13. Four Memphis players scored in double figures, led by their starting frontcourt of Marc Gasol (22 points), Zach Randolph (13 points, 12 rebounds), and Rudy Gay (20 points), who combined for 55 points on 22 of 36 shooting, 23 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
|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.
The Magic finally were able to hit some shots in the second quarter, shooting 9 of 18, but their defense was unable to stop Memphis, with the Grizzlies shooting 52% on their way to a commanding 54-30 halftime lead. Turkoglu led the Magic with 7 first-half points, while forward Earl Clark had 5 rebounds and 4 blocks defensively.
With Memphis having their largest lead of the game at 56-30 early in the third quarter, the Magic, seemingly out of nowhere, put a major scare into the Grizzlies and their home crowd. They outscored Memphis 21-2 over the next 7:33, which cut the Magic deficit to 58-51 with 3:39 remaining in the third following a Turkoglu three-pointer. The Grizzlies were able to retain control the rest of the quarter, scoring 9 points in a row to lead 67-51 before another Turkoglu trey made the score 67-54 Grizzlies going into the final quarter. The Magic outscored the Grizzlies 24-13 in the third on 59% shooting, with Turkoglu scoring 11 points.
The Magic got as close as 72-61 in the fourth with 8:03 remaining after a Wafer layup. Memphis then put the game away with a 16-9 run to make the score 88-70 with under two minutes remaining on their way to the 88-76 victory. Magic guard DeAndre Liggins scored 4 of the Magic's final 6 points of the game.
The important thing for Orlando in this game was that no one else got injured, and the starters were able to rest in preparation for their playoff series against the Pacers, which will start Saturday. It was also good seeing Turkoglu able to play effectively with his mask on, shooting better than 50% from the floor, and leading the Magic in scoring with his 18 points. He only had one assist, but that could be expected with the rest of the inexperience in the Magic lineup. Justin Harper also showed he could play, after missing his first four shots of the game.
Other game notes:
-Magic starting center Daniel Orton scored 7 points on 3 of 3 shooting, but grabbed just 2 boards in 25 minutes along with 2 blocks.
-The two Magic point guards, Chris Duhon (5 points) and Ish Smith (4 points), combined for 9 points on 3 of 9 shooting, 6 assists, and 4 turnovers.
-The Magic outscored the Grizzlies 46-34 in the second half
-Magic reserves outscored the Grizzlies' reserves 27-25.
-Grizzlies' reserve guard O.J. Mayo scored 15 points, with 7 rebounds and 6 assists.