Wrapping up their eight game preseason slate, the Orlando Magic hosted the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night. In front of a ruckus Orlando crowd, the Magic took home their fifth straight victory, winning 86-76.
With Memphis resting many of their key players -- Jeff Green was the team's only projected starter to play -- the Magic got off to a quick start, taking advantage of crisp defensive rotations and sloppy play from the visiting Grizzlies. Following a timeout, the Grizzlies came out like hungry bears, attacking the Magic and forcing them into mistakes, taking their first lead of the game with a quick 9-0 run. After that, however, the Magic regained their composure and began to relentlessly attack and pressure Memphis on both ends of the court. Much like Wednesday night, Tobias Harris came out in full attack mode, leading all scorers with nine after 12 minutes. With their starters getting the night off, Vince Carter led the way for the Grizzlies, scoring five early points.
After putting together strong play in the first quarter, the Magic began crumbling in the second. Sloppy, uninspiring play allowed the Grizzlies to control the game for much of the quarter, cutting the Magic's lead down to three heading into halftime. As the Magic's offense began stagnating, Memphis' was crisp, knocking down nearly 50 percent of their shots while relentlessly attacking he Magic in the interior, outscoring them 12-to-6 in the paint in the quarter. Harris continued to lead all scorers with 11 at the half, while Brandan Wright led the way for Memphis with nine.
As has been the case in many of their preseason contests, the Magic came out flat in the third quarter, forcing coach Scott Skiles to go to his bench early and often. Looking for that spark to light the fire, Skiles inserted Mario Hezonja and Shabazz Napier who began helping the Magic claw their way back into it. Napier, who has quietly put together a strong preseason, lit the Grizzlies defense up, both scoring and initiating the offense to the tune of six points and five assists in the quarter. With the reserves in the game, Orlando's energy level was much higher, with the team shooting 9-of-16 in the quarter. Napier, along with Harris, led all scorers with 15, with Wright's 11 staying out front for the Grizzlies.
Up by four heading into the fourth, the Magic looked to close out their strong preseason with yet another victory. Behind high energy plays from Dewayne Dedmon and Andrew Nicholson. The Magic's defense swarmed like bees, keeping the Grizzlies out of the paint and out of the scoring column for a stretch that last over seven minutes.
Four Magic men finished in double figures, led by Harris' game high 18. Napier added 15 points and eight assists, with Nicholson finishing the night with 14. Nikola Vucevic rounded out the Magic men in double figures, finishing with 10.
Wright led the way for the Grizzlies, finishing with 11. Carter and Jarnell Stokes rounded out their players in double figures, finishing with 10 apiece.