On December 1, the Memphis Grizzlies overcame a 14-point, fourth quarter lead to defeat the Orlando Magic, 95-94. Monday night, the Magic held another big lead, but this one didn’t get away as they pounded Memphis, 112-102.
This game was not as close as the final score would indicate. Orlando got off to a quick start and led by 29 points in the first half. Memphis would make an occasional run, but the Magic always had the answer.
One of the strongest answers was Aaron Gordon. The power forward poured in 30 points, including making all four of his three point attempts.
His efforts were complimented by six of his teammates who scored in double figures. They also moved the ball around by the pass, but committed only nine turnovers.
Orlando shot 50 percent against the NBA’s top-rated defense going into the game.
“It’s been great,” said Gordon. We’re playing like a team. Overall, if you see the stat sheet, everyone contributed to winning this game.”
Bismack Biyombo contributed a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Serge Ibaka and Elfrid Payton each chipped in with 16.
The Magic were playing without the leading scored, Evan Fournier, for the second consecutive game. Others have filled the void both times as Orlando has won both of those games by double-digit margins.
“When a top guy goes down, everybody gets an opportunity,” said magic Coach Frank Vogel. “We’ve seen teams come into our building without their leading scorer. Other guys need to rise up.”
That is precisely what Gordon did on Monday. Some of his shots blunted mini-rallies by Memphis.
“Aaron really knocked down some big shots, some timely shots,” said Vogel.
Vogel is confident the team is finally getting to the place where it needs to be to make a playoff run. They are now 15-18 and playing better at home. At 8-8, they have already shown they can win on the road, a pre-requisite for making it to the post season.
Orlando will try to make it three wins in a row on Wednesday when they host the Charlotte Hornets. The Magic will be trying for a little payback after being routed in Charlotte, 109-88 on December 9.