With the Memphis Grizzlies healthier than the last time they played the Magic, with all three of Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter playing, along with Evan Fournier’s continued absence, there was a lot of reason to imagine this could be a tough one for the Magic. Instead, Orlando dominated right from tip-off, maintaining a massive lead all the way until garbage time and taking the 112-102 win at home. Aaron Gordon put on a show, scoring 30 points, including 15 in the third quarter, while Bismack Biyombo had a 10-12 double-double and did an excellent job controlling the defensive glass. Mike Conley led Memphis with 17 points.
The first quarter was among the best Orlando’s had all season, dominating on both sides of the court. They shot 63.6% to Memphis’s 31.6%, benefiting from several fast-break baskets, but also from high-quality shots in the flow of the half-court offense. Jodie Meeks in particular was a force, leading all scorers with 13 points, including 3-4 shooting from deep. On the other end, the defense looked as dynamic as it has all season, matching the intensity from the first quarter against the Lakers, just without the massive block total. Memphis struggled to find open looks and couldn’t find any way through the Magic’s crisp rotations. The net result was a massive 36-18 lead after the first.
The onslaught only continued in the second, with the Magic bench faring as well as the starters. The one concern was foul trouble for Orlando’s bigs, as all three of Ibaka, Biyombo, and Vucevic accrued two personal fouls each. Even when the Grizzlies put together a small run to tighten the lead slightly, it never felt like the Magic were losing control, and they’d always reassert their lead with a timely 3-pointer or offensive rebound. Four Orlando players scored in double figures in the first half, including Meeks (13), Gordon (10), Ibaka (12), and Payton (10). Payton did a good job running the offense throughout the second quarter, playing with a lot of speed in the halfcourt to get past the defense, and hitting an open 3-pointer when he had the opportunity. Conley was the only Magic player who could find any rhythm, scoring 13 on 5-6 shooting, but that wasn’t nearly enough for the Grizzlies, who continued to fall behind, 68-43 at halftime.
The third quarter looked a little shaky at times, with the Grizzlies hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead as close as 19 at one point, but then the Aaron Gordon show came to town. He scored 15 points in the quarter, including 12 straight for the Magic, coming on a variety of shots, including a cross-over 3-pointer to beat the buzzer. He was able to take on any defender they threw at him, including Gasol, whom he calmly took a jumper over to get the 12th of those consecutive points. On the other end, Conley did all he could to keep the Grizzlies in the game, pulling his total to 20, but it was just enough to keep the lead exactly where it started that half, 96-71.
The fourth quarter started on another rough note, with two straight bad possessions leading to two straight 3-pointers for Memphis on the other end. Throw in another jumper, and the lead was all the way down to 17. Orlando, as they did all night, found a way to respond, going on a 7-0 run of their own, including a Vucevic 3-pointer, and punctuated by a massive lob to Gordon. Back again came the Grizzlies, using some Troy Daniels 3-pointers to keep the Magic from running away with it. Still, even with the Magic’s defense faltering late in the game, the offense couldn’t be stopped, and trading blows wasn’t going to bring the game anywhere close to even for Memphis. With about an 18-point lead the starters called it quits, and it was only in garbage time that the Grizzlies were able to narrow the lead further.