Grizzlies win 2OT thriller against Magic

John Denton, OrlandoMagic.com

Rare is it ever the case where a basketball game ends in sudden-death fashion, but that’s what it ultimately took to decide a back-and-forth, double-overtime game between the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.

Russ Smith hit a short floater in the lane after Jarnell Stokes outfought Orlando’s Aaron Gordon for a rebound, giving Memphis a 73-71 victory in fourth-day action of the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League.

Smith scored 20 points and made nine of 12 shots, including a 3-pointer with 26.4 seconds left in regulation that forced the first overtime period. Facing off most of the day against former University of Louisville teammate Peyton Siva, Smith’s high-arching shot just minutes into the second OT kept Memphis (3-0) undefeated in summer league play.

"I haven't had that (sudden death ending) since like fifth grade, I think," said Magic second-round pick Tyler Harvey, who had five points and two rebounds in nearly 12 minutes of action. "It's different, but it's a one-possession game and every shot matters. It was interesting."

The Grizzlies were down as much as 17 points early in the game and trailed by 12 at intermission before launching a rally. Memphis wiped out 39-28 halftime deficit by outscoring the Magic 19-10 in the third quarter and starting the fourth period with a 10-0 run.

Orlando’s second-half drought came to an end with a 9-0 spurt keyed by six points by Gordon and a Gordon assist for a Devyn Marble 3-pointer.

Orlando led 69-61 with 2 minutes left in regulation before the Grizzlies came storming back to tie the game and force the extra periods. Jordan Adams scored 15 points and Tony Crocket added 12. Stokes, a second-year pro out of the University of Tennessee, had nine points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Orlando’s Gordon continued his breakout week at the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League with a strong start and a stellar finish. Gordon made his first three shots, struggled through a one-of-10 drought and then pumped in 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Gordon, the summer league’s leading scorer (21.7 points) and rebounder (11.7 boards), scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Orlando (1-2). Gordon made eight of 19 shots, drilled three 3-pointers and added seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks. But Gordon was upset with himself for not coming up with the rebound that the muscular Stokes snatched away to set up Smith’s sudden-death shot for the win.

"(The sudden-death format) kind of threw me off at the end," said Gordon, who said the last sudden-death basketball game he played in was in AAU. "When they missed the shot, I figured, 'Now, it’s our turn.' But that’s not how it works and you have to get the rebound. That’s on me – we didn’t get the rebound and I hate losing."

Magic standout point guard Elfrid Payton and No. 5 pick in the June 25th NBA Draft Mario Hezonja were given the day off and didn’t play. Payton, who finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting this past season, started and played extensive minutes in the first two summer league games while averaging 5.5 points and 6.5 assists.

Hezonja, 20, could be done for the week as a precautionary measure. He’s already played 53 games in the Spanish League and EuroLeague and he’s set to play with the Croatian National Team in the Euro Basket tournament in September. Hezonja, a 6-foot-8, 218-pound small forward, hit the game-winning 3-pointer in Saturday’s victory and he had two thunderous dunks in Monday’s loss.

Clearly motivated by a sloppy, turnover-fill performance on Monday, Orlando played hard in the first half and led 39-28 at intermission. The Magic made 14 of 31 shots, including four 3-pointers – more than made all of Monday.

For a third straight game, Gordon got off to a great start with an array of perimeter shots. Gordon, who came into the game averaging 21.5 points and 14 rebounds, scored 10 straight points in the first quarter of Saturday’s game and he had 10 of the first 12 on Monday. On Tuesday, he scored Orlando’s first seven points – a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer, a finger roll after ball-faking from the perimeter and an elbow-extended pull-up jumper.

Siva, the former University of Louisville standout who spent all of last season in the Development League, took advantage of the starting opportunity with Payton being rested. Fighting to show the Magic that he is worthy of a training camp invite, Siva scored seven points and handed out six assists in the first half. More importantly, the Magic were a plus-11 on the scoreboard in his 14 minutes on the floor in the first two quarters.

Siva finished with seven points, seven rebounds and two steals in almost 32 minutes.

The Grizzlies will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday at 4pm (CT).

Player Notes

  • Russ Smith put up 20 points and dished three assists.
  • Jordan Adams scored 15 and swiped four steals.
  • Jarnell Stokes had 9 points and eight boards.
  • Tony Crocker contributed 12 points and three assists.