Magic Stumble in Second Half in Loss to Grizzlies

by Josh Cohen

The Lead

The third quarter was the Orlando Magic’s best quarter in their win on Wednesday over the Cleveland Cavaliers. That was not the case on Friday in Memphis. The Magic, who led by four at halftime, were outscored by 21 in the third in their 92-75 loss to the Grizzlies.

Key Stretch

The Magic led by nine at the 10-minute mark of the third quarter before the Grizzlies seized momentum with a 24-8 run. Dillon Brooks, Memphis’ third leading scorer this season, scored 10 of his game-high 20 points during that stretch. Orlando got as close as 11 in the fourth after trailing by as many as 24. The Magic outscored the Grizzlies 15-4 before Brooks hit a 3-pointer with 4:26 left.

Key Stats

The Grizzlies are the league’s best at capitalizing off their opponent’s mistakes. They rank No. 1 in points off turnovers. On Friday, 20 Orlando turnovers led to 20 Memphis points. The Grizzlies also scored 29 fast break points, a category they rank No. 1 in as well. The last time the Magic scored 75 points or less was on March 13, 2018 against the Spurs.

Top Performer

Mo Bamba had one of his best games of the season with 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. He made six of his nine shot attempts and two of his three 3-point tries. Since the trades on March 25, which opened up more playing opportunity for him, the 7-foot, 231-pounder has shot 40.4 percent from beyond the arc. Only James Ennis III has a better percentage from distance than Bamba on the Magic during this time.

Rookie Watch

Only three Magic players scored in double figures. Two of them were rookies. Cole Anthony, who has now scored in double figures in 12 of his 13 games since returning from a rib injury, posted 15 points, while R.J. Hampton tallied 11, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.

Injury Report

Terrence Ross (back spasms), Chuma Okeke (sprained left ankle), Devin Cannady (right ankle; open dislocation), Michael Carter-Williams (sprained left ankle), Markelle Fultz (torn ACL, left knee), Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) and Otto Porter Jr. (left foot pain) were out. Not available for Memphis were Grayson Allen (left hand injury) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee; return for injury management).

Quote of the Night

“He’s fighting his way through a little bit (more) than he did early in his career. He’s figuring it out. He’s getting better. He’s kind of getting an identity of who he is and what’s going to make him good in this league.” – Magic acting head coach Tyrone Corbin on Bamba

Up Next

The Magic and Grizzlies both now fly to Orlando to complete their back-to-back, home-and-home series. Tip-off will be 8 p.m. on Saturday. The best case scenario for Memphis is to climb up all the way to sixth place in the West so they can lock up a playoff spot without having to win a game (or two) in the play-in tournament. Right now they sit in eighth place and are three games back of sixth-placed Dallas. Portland is 2 ½ games ahead of them for seventh.

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