Yes, those two statements are somehow related.
It had been almost a decade since the Magic last won in the FedEx Forum (January 2008, hello Hedo Turkoglu). That all came to an end Wednesday as Orlando secured a win to close out their three-game road trip over the Grizzlies 101-99. Evan Fournier once again led the Magic with 22 points (4-7 from 3PT) and 8 rebounds. Aaron Gordon added 19 points and 7 boards (7-11 FG, 2-4 3PT). The Magic shot over 50 percent from the field, and connected on thirteen three-point attempts (13-29, 44%).
The Magic jumped all over the Grizzlies out of the gate, building a 20-9 lead midway through the first quarter. But the Grizzlies, led by Tyreke Evans’ 11 first quarter points, went on a 17-3 run of their own to close out the first quarter with the lead.
The Magic were able to right the ship and chip away at Memphis’ lead in the second quarter, eventually climbing all the way out of the hole they had found themselves in. Orlando went into the half tied with Memphis 54-54, but they suffered a significant blow along the way. Point guard D.J. Augustin stole a pass late in the second quarter and converted an uncontested layup at the other end. However, Augustin immediately went down to the floor in pain, and the Magic played an entire defensive possession short a man until they secured the ball again (Memphis had three chances on good looks, but couldn’t convert).
Augustin immediately went to the locker room and was diagnosed with a hamstring injury.
The lead changed back and forth a handful of times in the third quarter. The Magic took the lead 75-73 with 2:49 left in the third on an Aaron Gordon “and-1”. The Magic came away with a “50/50” ball after a hellacious scramble off an offensive rebound, Gordon converted at the rim, and the Magic held onto the lead for the remainder of the quarter. Rookie Jonathan Isaac had two huge defensive plays to close out the period (a block at the rim, and a defensive charge taken). The Magic headed to the fourth quarter up 81-75.
Tyreke Evans was huge again in the fourth quarter, pouring in 12 points in the period. He finished with a game-high 32 points. But with just over two minutes left in the game, Evans made a critical mistake on a crucial possession. With the Grizzlies down 95-97, Evans stole the ball and went the other way leading a two-on-one break. But inexplicably, Evans threw a wild lob to James Ennis III, who never attempted to catch the pass as it bounced off the backboard. The Magic escaped without harm on that particular play, but after two late buckets from Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies found themselves in the lead with 1:00 minute to go.
Aaron Gordon then hit a clutch three in the corner to put the Magic up by one point. On the next Magic possession, Terrence Ross slipped on a wet spot near mid-court. The Grizzlies pushed the ball the other way, but Nikola Vucevic hustled back to break-up the play. Then, in a blink of an eye, Ross again turned the ball back over to the Grizzlies by stepping out of bounds (in the corner). Mario Chalmers had a clean look at the top of the key with 17 seconds left on the clock, but he couldn’t convert.
And then I finished the game recap……oh my god Ross threw the inbounds pass away, and the Grizzlies got another open look. Dillon Brooks came up empty this time, and the Magic got their win in Memphis.
It was a grind the entire way, but I guess that’s what you get in the “Grindhouse”.