The Orlando Magic dipped to 1-4 in exhibition action Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, who rode a vintage performance by former Magic swingman Mike Miller to a 97-91 victory. Miller started and played 30 minutes, shooting 7-of-10 from the floor for a team-leading 19 points and adding a game-high-tying 11 rebounds against the team for which he began his professional career. Ed Davis had 16 points and 10 boards off Memphis' bench.
Despite the loss, Orlando can take heart in the brilliant performance of Victor Oladipo, the second overall pick in June's NBA Draft. Against a physical and skilled Grizzlies defense which ranked second in the NBA in 2012/13, Oladipo--not known for his offensive play--tallied an efficient 22 points on 16 shooting possessions, with just two turnovers. His 2-of-3 shooting from three-point range will not be sustainable over the long haul, but the fact that he earned eight free-throw attempts gives hope that Orlando, coming off one of the worst foul-drawing seasons in league history, can score more efficiently in the season ahead.
Also encouraging is the play of third-year center Nikola Vučević, who stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, 11 rebounds, an assist, two steals, and two blocked shots before fouling out with 2:47 to play in the third quarter. Vučević outplayed his counterpart, Marc Gasol, a one-time All-Star and arguably one of the NBA's 10 greatest overall contributors. Vučević's backup, Kyle O'Quinn, posted 12 points and six rebounds of his own, and appears to have returned to form following an unimpressive start of the preseason. His work is not yet done, however, as he committed five fouls. He faces an uphill battle for minutes as it is; the Norfolk State product can't take himself off the floor as soon as he's earned a spot on it.
The Magic hung around in the immediate aftermath of Vučević's disqualification, but the Grizzlies used a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 15 with 5:26 to go. Orlando would only get the deficit below double-digits with 1:25 left in the game.
Orlando will look to end its two-game losing streak Sunday when it hosts the Detroit Pistons.