The Orlando Magic kicked off their seven game preseason slate in Memphis on Monday night against the Grizzlies. The new look Magic were shorthanded, missing three likely starters — Elfrid Payton (hip flexor), Aaron Gordon (ankle) and Serge Ibaka (Knee) — ultimately falling to the Grizzlies, 102-97.
With three starters out, the Magic experimented some, starting Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo together. Coach Frank Vogel has hinted that he could turn to the twin tower lineup at times this season, so trying it in the preseason should come as no surprise.
The Magic also showed a willingness to get out and push the pace more, something Vogel has said he hopes his team does. Being able to get out and run will likely be keyed by the teams defense, which has been one of, if not the biggest thing they’re focusing on early on this preseason. With Vogel, along with Biyombo and Ibaka, the Magic figure to have the potential to be one of the better defensive teams in the league this year.
Turnovers, which have plagued the Magic in the past, were an issue once again, with the team coughing it up 23 times, leading to 23 points for the Grizzlies.
Five Grizzlies finished in double figures, led by rookie Wade Baldwin’s 15. Andrew Harrison scored 11, with Brandon Wright, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley all adding 10.
Evan Fournier led the way for the Magic with 18 on the night. Vucevic added 11, with C.J. Watson scoring 10 off the bench.
The Magic continue their preseason Wednesday in Cleveland against the Cavaliers.