Apart from a flurry of activity bridging the first and second quarters, the Orlando Magic played sluggishly Tuesday as they fell to 2-1 with an 80-73 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Summer invitee Cameron Jones, a veteran of the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA D-League, scored 10 points in 21 reserve minutes and distinguished himself with 4-of-8 shooting. After taking Orlando's previous game off, Victor Oladipo returned to the lineup and struggled, tallying 11 points, one assist, and two turnovers while shooting 4-of-12 from the floor. His shot selection left plenty to be desired.
Rookie point guard Elfrid Payton played calmly and in command backing up Oladipo, and at times playing alongside him. His quickness and low stance enable him to help and recover defensively, and his active hands create deflections.
The Louisiana-Lafayette product closed the first quarter with a leaning jumper in traffic to beat the buzzer and lift Orlando to a 23-17 advantage. And as the second quarter began, he stole the ball from Grizzlies rookie Jarnell Stokes, raced up the floor, threw down a two-handed jam in traffic, and then slapped the backboard with his right hand in celebration. He'd finish the game with six points, two boards, three assists, two steals, a block, and three turnovers.
That play proved to be the brightest spot of Orlando's day. Memphis used a 9-0 run moments later to take a 33-32 lead, and a pair of foul shots by Okaro White to close the half gave the Grizzlies a lead they'd not relinquish.
What appeared to change for Orlando: energy. Playing their third game in four days, the Magic faded as the day progressed, allowing Memphis to keep applying pressure. It dominated the glass by a 34-24 margin. The Magic were particularly ill-equipped to handle the burly Stokes, who finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Aaron Gordon, the fourth pick in the Draft, did not factor into the game's result. He missed all three of his shot attempts and finished with four points, with no rebounds or assists. On one occasion in the first half, he recovered a loose ball in the paint with Stokes defending and didn't even look at the rim; he wanted no part of that matchup. Given Stokes' size and Gordon's perimeter-oriented offensive game, one can hardly blame him.