Led by Zach Randolph, the Memphis Grizzlies sent the Orlando Magic to their sixth straight defeat Monday, 103-94, sweeping the two-game season series. Randolph scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half, helping stake Memphis to a 19-point advantage.
All-Star center Marc Gasol scored 16 with 10 rebounds and four assists for Memphis. Former Magic point guard Beno Udrih shot 6-of-8 off the bench for 15 of his own.
Orlando got solid efforts from Victor Oladipo and Nik Vučević in defeat, with Oladipo in particular excelling in the second half: the second-year guard scored 13 of his 18 after intermission, picking his spots well and challenging the Grizzlies' vaunted defense.
Second-year center Dewayne Dedmon, who was not active Sunday in the Magic's loss to the Indiana Pacers, came of the bench to tally the first double-double of his career. He scored 10 points with 10 boards in 30 minutes, and started the second half alongside Vučević. Channing Frye, the Magic's starting power forward, did not play in the second half.
Orlando started the game running well, even off Memphis' frequent makes: 13 its 29 points in the period came on the break and the Magic played the game at their pace.
But Randolph posed far too many problems for Orlando. He managed to establish deep position against Frye time and again, bullying his way inside for buckets or drawn fouls. And when further from the basket, he drilled jumpers or hit backdoor cutters for hoops. All told, Randolph scored 12 points and dished three assists, helping the Grizzlies to a five-point lead after one.
Memphis wouldn't truly assert itself until the second period, when it took away the Magic's running game--Orlando scored no fast-break points in the second frame--while continuing to get whatever they wanted offensively. The Grizzlies' 67 points in the first half set a new team-high for any half on the season.
Udrih helped Memphis gain separation by drilling three jumpers, including one three-pointer, off the dribble; the veteran is a tough cover in space, as the Magic learned the hard way Monday.
Better work defensively led to Orlando's trimming three points off that deficit in the third period: the Magic limited Randolph's touches and didn't roam off their men too much, yielding just 36.8 percent shooting. And Oladipo began attacking the rim at the other end, scoring 11 points against a tough Grizzlies front line.
That strong defensive effort continued into the fourth period, where Orlando would draw to within nine points with 1:07 to play. Closing the game on a 9-2 run is no mean feat, but the Magic simply didn't make the most of their opportunities: after taking a 101-85 lead, the Grizzlies shot 2-of-10 with four turnovers until the final horn. A more talented team than Orlando might have made the game more interesting in that situation. If nothing else, the Magic played well enough in the closing minutes to prompt Grizz coach David Joerger to play three starters instead of burning the clock with backups.