Postgame Report: Big night from Orlando second-unit too much for Grizzlies to overcome
Key Stat of the Night
- Orlando outscored Memphis 70-52 in the second half, overcoming a 17-point first-half deficit to earn its third straight win.
Key Run of the Night
- The Grizzlies trailed 110-101 with 4:28 left in the fourth quarter, but a four-point play from Dillon Brooks and a three-pointer by Tyus Jones sparked an 11-2 run to tie the game at 112 with 1:58 remaining. Terrence Ross responded with consecutive three-pointers to help the Magic reclaim a 118-112 advantage with 43.4 seconds left in the game.
The Memphis Grizzlies fell the Orlando Magic 120-115 on Tuesday night inside FedExForum.
Memphis came out of the gate strong, outscoring the Magic 30-13 over the first 9:15 of play to grab their largest lead of the night. Grizzlies big man Jonas Valanciunas gave Memphis a spark in the first quarter, totaling 11 points and four rebounds on 4-of-4 shooting in the opening period. The Magic were able to cut the Grizzlies lead to 35-27 following a 14-5 run over the final 2:45 of the quarter. Josh Jackson entered off the bench and continued his strong play of late, scoring 11 points while adding three assists in the first half alone. Memphis settled for a 63-50 lead at the halftime break after shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from behind-the-arc in the first half.
The Magic offense found their rhythm in the third quarter, outscoring Memphis 35-23 in the period on 56.5 percent shooting. Orlando used a 14-4 run to cut the Grizzlies lead to 74-71 with 6:25 remaining in the third following a floater from Nikola Vucevic. The Magic took their first lead of the game at 85-84 following a free throw from D.J. Augustin In the final minute of the third period. Orlando took control of the game in the fourth quarter, stretching their lead to 110-101 with 4:28 remaining. Memphis responded a furious 11-2 run to tie the game at 112-112 with 1:58 remaining. However, Terrence Ross connected on two three-pointers in the final 1:19 of play to help the Magic pull away with the 120-115 victory. Behind Ross, Orlando’s second-unit outscored the Grizzlies reserves 65-36.
Valanciunas finished the night 9-of-10 from the field for 27 points, 16 rebounds and one block. This marked Valanciunas sixth game with 15-or-more rebounds in the past seven games. Ja Morant totaled 21 points, four rebounds and five assists on 7-of-16 shooting. Dillon Brooks added 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting in 34 minutes. Jackson led the Grizzlies bench with 15 points and four rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting. Jackson became the first Grizzlies player since Tyreke Evans in 2017-18 to post five consecutive games of 15-or-more points off the bench.
Ross and Michael Carter-Williams both had big nights off the Magic bench to lead Orlando. Ross totaled a team-high 24 points to go with two rebounds and an assist on 8-of-19 shooting. Ross scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and proved to be the difference down the stretch. Carter-Williams finished with 20 points, three rebounds and two steals, while drawing a crucial charge on the defensive end in the final minutes. Vucevic posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Magic improved to 30-35 on the season.
The Grizzlies will hit the road for a three-game trip beginning with the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday, March 10 at 9 p.m. inside Moda Center. Fans can also watch the game on FOX Sports Southeast or listen on 92.9 FM ESPN.
On tonight’s performance:Give the Magic a lot of credit. I thought our guys played well in the first half, they raised their intensity in the second half. We can’t live with giving up 70 points. I thought our defense definitely let us down.
On what made it tough to slow Orlando down:Personnel honestly, I thought their bench was huge for them. [D.J.] Augustin, [Terrence] Ross, [Michael] Carter-Williams, offensively, defensively, they changed the game. Even though we had a double-digit lead at halftime, they kind of set a tone for them. I think that kind of sparked the starters for the Magic when they came out in that third quarter. They just had the hot hand. They were making a lot of shots, plenty of them were open, some were definitely highly contested. Give them credit; they definitely played great in the second half.
On needing fresh legs:I’m never going to use that as an excuse. Obviously, we just need to play better. Even with this group, we have had the energy, we have had the juice, we have had two days off. We came out and had a great first half and we just took our foot off the gas pedal and they definitely put that full throttle down in second half, especially defensively, their pressure on the ball. That got them ignited offensively.
On turnovers and missed free throws:Magic, Clifford teams, they are always going to be teams that swarm you on the ball, in passing lanes. I definitely thought the turnovers hurt us, they forced us into some tough situations where we tried to thread the needle a little bit too much. A couple careless ones here and there, but we have been missing free throws recently. If we can try to correct that despite not playing great.... You are not going to always have a perfect game, you can’t have a multitude of areas let you down.
On free throws:I am not one to address the guys and say you have to make free throws, maybe once in a blue moon. You just have to get in the gym and keep shooting them. I think we have been pretty good for most of the season but I think we have hit kind of a rut the last couple games. Those were definitely impactful free throws.
On Gorgui Dieng:Gorgui has been unbelievable. It starts with a human, unbelievably positive spirit. He has been an unbelievable teammate to these guys. He’s kind of adopted some of the teammates as his own son. He has great humor with his teammates, he’s the ultimate pro, great worker, he leads by example. Obviously, he is with a new group, figuring out a new style of play but the big thing is he just immerses with his teammates. He helps them as much as possible just being a guy that brings the positive vibes at all times, goes down and tries to play hard. We are definitely excited about the player fit but even more the person fit. He has been great to work with. He always brings a smile to my face every single day. We are definitely excited to have him in the fold with us.
On Josh Jackson getting more comfortable:I have mentioned it a couple of times recently, his ability to rebound, come up with stops and guys outlet to him or he brings it himself and he can attack… That is just another dynamic playmaker that can create the pace for us and we can obviously trust these guys to make the right decisions. I think he has done a good job getting off the ball at times. When he has a window to attack, as we watch film with him, I think he has picked the right spots to go and score. He has had great success with it.
On the difference in the second half:Yeah, they outworked us. I would say we had a lot of turnovers, we’ ve got to clean that up. There’s no single play of the game it’s a collective of everything… first quarter, second quarter, third quarter. We lost the game but we had a chance to go up and we couldn’t score the basketball and go on the other end and get a stop. We couldn’t get a stop. It’s just turnovers, rebounding. Then just knowing personnel, knowing what to do out there for personnel.
On the loss:It sticks with me. It’s a bad loss. No sense of urgency out there when it counted. We made plays to get back in the game but no sense of urgency. We aren’t taking the one-on-one challenge guarding guys, taking personnel, and like I said before just knowing personnel. Terrence Ross is a hot guy. He shoots it well. And we’re shifting off of him and we’re trying to get steals and he got us at the end.
On the road trip coming up:Yeah. Push the envelope. I hope guys go home today and think about what they can do better. We’ve go to put more effort into this. When we were out there today it didn’t seem like we were too comfortable. We’ve got to play with some desperation because there’s teams that are right on our heels. We’ve got to shake it off. Come to practice tomorrow, focus and go execute the game plan against Portland, a hungry team.
On Justise Winslow:He loves to get to the rim. We need more of that. He has a great looking jump shot when he flicks his wrist. He’s a defender. He takes defense with pride and that’s what we need. We need guys that are going to take on that one-on-one challenge and not force our defense to rotate and do extra when sometimes we don’t need to have them jump over every single time. Then we’ve got to scramble. So that’s going to be a great key but we’re going to rotate him in and slowly get everybody back like Jaren (Jackson, Jr.) and BC (Brandon Clarke), get back to the way we were rolling before to end the year.
On going home to Oregon on this road trip:Just going to focus on the game and prepare for the game. They can text me if they want tickets. I ain’t scared to give tickets out to nobody even though they only give two. I’ll gladly spend my money to make them watch me play. Ultimately, just preparing for this game. This road trip is important. We’ve got a tiebreaker in Portland and a tiebreaker in San Antonio so we need those. We’ve got to understand every single time we come down there it’s no fun and games. It’s no joke. It’s not casual. If you want to go somewhere that we haven’t been to or flip the switch, we’ve got to be focused and locked in when it comes to game time. That’s how we’ve got to have the approach.
On what the Magic did to come back in the second half:They scored 70 points and that allows them to win the basketball game.
On how they adjusted to the defensive changes by the Magic:Our defense kind of put us in a position where we had to fight back. They scored 70 points in the second half. I think coach said 35 points in both quarters. We just can’t have that. That kind of bit us and we lost the game.
On what to take away from this game:I think they had (12) offensive rebounds and they were scoring off of them. I think we had like 20 turnovers. That’s the difference right there. It allowed them to get second chance points and also wasted possessions from us.
On what to take from the ups and downs since All-star break:Watch film on this game tomorrow, head to practice, get better at what we need to to go into this road trip, and do whatever we can to win basketball games on the road.
On Coronavirus:I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can speak for me. I’m just letting the people that are in charge handle it. Whatever they say, I do. My health is important and that’s number one. However I’ve got to go about it to stay healthy and continue to be me, I’m happy to do it. Sorry.
On Gorgui Dieng:He’s a great player. (He has) size in the paint, rebounds, blocks shots for us, and also can stretch the floor out. He’s a good talent. We are still trying to get him a little comfortable and take more shots. It’ll all come together.
- Jonas Valančiūnas posted 27 points and 16 rebounds, including 15 points (5-6 FG, 5-6 FT) and nine boards in the first half. Valančiūnas, whose 33rd double-double added to his single-season career high, averaged 18.0 points and 9.5 rebounds before halftime and 27.0 points and 16.5 rebounds during Memphis’ two-game home stand.
- Ja Morant tallied 21 points, his 25th 20-point game of the season and his 21st consecutive game scoring in double figures.
- Dillon Brooks had 21 points, his 22nd 20-point game of the season.
- Josh Jackson recorded his fifth double-digit scoring effort in as many games during the month of March with 15 points (6-8 FG). Jackson is the first Grizzlies player to score at least 15 points off the bench in five consecutive games since Tyreke Evans during the 2017-18 season.
- De’Anthony Melton led the team in assists (six) for the second time this season.
- Terrence Ross led Orlando with 24 points off the bench. Ross entered tonight averaging 22.0 points in nine games (all as a reserve) since the All-Star Break.
- Michael Carter-Williams netted a season-high 20 points off the bench.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase 2019-20 Season Tickets can do so by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com. Single Game Tickets are available for purchase at the FedExForum Box Office, ticketmaster.com, online at grizzlies.com or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX.