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Magic 107, Grizzlies 100: Magic win a game many fans hoped they’d lose

Evan Fournier’s go-ahead three lifted the Magic to victory in what was a tanking showdown

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Magic are in a no-win pun intended.

While the team is still playing to win, many fans are hoping for losses. Particularly when the Magic face other teams among the league’s worst like the Grizzlies in what has become the Great Tank Race of 2018.

In terms of importance in the Tankathon standings, this game between the Magic and Grizzlies was equivalent to that of a playoff game, earning a 95.4 Tank Rank score, whatever that even means exactly...

And it sure seemed that the Grizzlies ignored the tank warning memo Adam Silver sent out earlier this week.

With injuries having decimated the Grizzlies this season, the team showed that it was in full tank mode against Orlando by “resting” Marc Gasol.

The Magic on the other hand are a Terrence Ross return away from being at full stretch for the first time in a long time. Jonathan Isaac, who returned on Friday, used his length to disrupt the Grizzlies in the closing seconds of the game Saturday, helping the Magic seal a 107-100 victory and sending Memphis to a 13th straight loss.

While we can in no way fault the Magic for winning, or their players for doing all they can to do so, fans had, we’ll say, mixed feelings about the victory. Just check out this Twitter thread for a sampling...

That Fournier three gave the Magic a 103-100 lead, and capped a 17-8 Orlando run to erase what had been a six-point deficit with under five minutes remaining.

With the Grizzlies’ Jarell Martin attempting a potential game-tying three on the next possession, Isaac bit on the pump fake, recovered and managed to get a piece of the ball for his third block of the game.

With the Magic nursing a five-point lead and just over eight seconds remaining, Isaac, defending against the inbounds, helped force a five-second violation.

Isaac was held scoreless, missing both of his shot attempts in 18 minutes, but finished with five rebounds and again showed his value on the defensive end.

All five Magic starters were in double figures, led by Fournier and Nikola Vucevic with 19 points each. D.J. Augustin added 16 points and five assists. Aaron Gordon had 14 points and eight rebounds. Jonathon Simmons contributed 11 points. Mario Hezonja had 16 points off the bench on 5 of 12 shooting.

Ben McLemore led the Grizzlies with 20 points.

With the loss, Memphis falls to 18-44 and now owns the worst record in the league. The bottom seven teams are separated by 1.5 games at the bottom of the standings, with the Magic tied with Brooklyn for sixth worse at 20-43.

The Magic now set out on a five-game West Coast trip, starting with Utah on Monday.

What were your thoughts on the win? Join the conversation below....