What’s that about tanking now?
Cole Anthony, who scored a career-high 26 points (6-15 FGA’s, 4-6 3PTA’s, 10-11 FTA’s), hit a game-winning three-point field goal with 0.1 seconds remaining to down the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday night. Orlando, who was down by as many as 20 points, topped Memphis 113-112.
The Magic, who were able to overcome a rebounding deficit against the Grizzlies of 55-37, prevailed in large part to enjoying a free throw advantage of 25-13 (Memphis shot 61.9 percent from the line).
“Great heart,” Magic assistant coach Tyrone Corbin told reporters after the game Saturday about his team’s effort. “Showed a lot of character, they stuck together, and they stayed with the game-plan.”
Rookie guard RJ Hampton scored a career-high 18 points for the Magic. Moritz Wagner added 24 points in his third game with Orlando.
“I (aint gonna) even lie, when Moe Wagner first got here, I was like ‘who is this’,” Anthony jokingly told reporters after the game. “Now I’m telling everyone I love this dude. That was a great pickup, I’m happy he’s here.”
Memphis was able to get whatever they wanted on the offensive end to begin the game, connecting on eight of their first nine shots. The Grizzlies were shooting it and playing with pace from the opening tip, burying their first four three-point field goal attempts while racking up seven fast break points in the game’s first five minutes.
The Magic received a nice early lift from Wagner, who was starting his second consecutive game for injured rookie forward Chuma Okeke. Wagner scored 8 of his 24 points in the first quarter. Hampton made his presence felt off the bench in the opening period as well, scoring seven points and swiping two steals in five first quarter minutes.
Dillion Brooks scored 10 of his 23 points in the first quarter.
Memphis opened the second quarter on a 10-2 run, pushing their lead to double-digits.
Orlando’s offense, which functioned relatively efficiently to begin the game, completely fell apart in the second quarter. Poor shot selection, a lack of pace/purpose, and a few unforced turnovers to boot plagued the Magic offensively (6 for 22 from the field, 27.3 percent). The Grizzlies outscored the Magic 24-17 in the period, taking a fourteen-point lead into the half.
The Grizzlies started to impose their will on the glass in the third quarter, led by Jonas Valanciunas. The Memphis starting center posted six offensive rebounds in the period (which led to six second chance points).
Kyle Anderson buried three consecutive three-point field goals in the first five minutes of the second half. But after a timeout midway through the period, the Magic steadied themselves and ended up outscoring the Grizzlies 30-25 in the quarter (pretty big difference from last night, Orlando was outscored 36-15 coming out of the half).
The Magic made a serious run in the game’s final period, finding energy to close the game from Hampton (again). The rookie reserve guard’s super-charged approach gave life to Orlando (playing on the second night of a back-to-back with nine healthy players), who cut the game to three points with 1:28 left in the contest (following a three point field goal from Hampton).
Anthony and Hampton both set individual career-highs in scoring late in the fourth quarter.
“Thanks Denver,” Anthony jokingly responded when asked about Orlando’s rookie backcourt connection. “Thanks (Denver), I appreciate you all.”
“He attacked,” Corbin added of Hampton’s play Saturday. “He turned the corner, he was more decisive going to the basket, trying to get the ball into the lane (and making things happen). He’s so athletic, he’s so fast. Sometimes it gets him into trouble, but tonight he was attacking with a purpose.”
Following a Valanciunas offensive foul coming out of a Memphis timeout, Wagner hit a three from the right-wing off a drive and kick from Anthony to tie the game with a minute remaining in the contest.
Dwayne Bacon, who scored seven points in the fourth quarter, was unable to hit a shot from the left elbow to give the Magic the lead, but Brooks was.
After a Ja Morant missed attempt in the lane, the Magic were unable to secure the defensive rebound. Officials, after a review, rewarded Memphis with another possession, and Brooks beat Bacon off the dribble - drilling a jumper from the left elbow with 7.0 seconds remaining in the game.
That set the stage for the game-winner from Anthony, who buried a heavily contested three-point field goal off the dribble from the top of the key.
Bacon finished with 23 points on 9 of 15 shooting.
Morant finished with 22 points and 7 assists, and Anderson added 21 points. Valanciunas posted a double-double, recording 11 points and 16 rebounds.
But the night belonged to Anthony, who hit the second game-winner for the Magic of his rookie season.
“I want the ball in those situations,” Anthony confidently said after the game.
Next, the Magic will travel to Detroit on Monday to take on the Pistons in a ugh critical game for whatever reason.