After returning to the playoffs last season and bringing back their entire core, the Orlando Magic had designs on a rise up the Eastern Conference. Instead, the Magic are mired near the bottom of the East and suffering through a four-game losing streak, which they'll try to snap Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies in the opener of a five-game homestand.
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Orlando took the Dallas Mavericks to the wire on the road Wednesday night before falling 107-106, with forward Aaron Gordon spoiling his best scoring effort of the season (23 points on 10-of-17 shooting) with two offensive fouls in the final minute. "It's two plays down the stretch," Gordon told reporters. "One, I like the way I was being aggressive. The other one, I could have made a better decision. We still got a good shot at the end. It's what we wanted but executing down the stretch there's a couple of things we could have done better for sure." The Grizzlies executed down the stretch just fine Wednesday against Minnesota, scoring 37 fourth-quarter points en route to a 137-121 win over the Timberwolves. Dillon Brooks scored a season-high 31 points and rookie Ja Morant added 26 as Memphis snapped a three-game slide.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS Southeast (Memphis), FS Florida (Orlando)
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (2-5): Brooks and Morant combined for 30 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday, with the rookie point guard calling the shots for an offense that has shown flashes of explosiveness. "It was a good way to end the game," Brooks told reporters after the second-highest scoring game in franchise history. "We put it in Ja's hands and he knew how to finish the game." Brandon Clarke, also a rookie, scored 18 points while making all seven of his shots off the bench and veteran center Jonas Valanciunas notched his fifth double-double.
ABOUT THE MAGIC (2-6): Wednesday's contest featured an impressive effort by forward Jonathan Isaac, who became the third player in the NBA since 1983-84 to record at least 13 points, 10 rebounds, six blocked shots, five assists and four steals in a game. "I just tried to stick to the gameplan," Isaac told reporters of controlling Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis. "Coaches put together a great scouting report. I just tried to follow it. I just played aggressive." Guard Terrence Ross, who is shooting 28.2 percent on the season, missed the contest due to a sore knee and is day-to-day.
1. Memphis entered Thursday ranked 28th in the NBA in 3-point shooting (29.4 percent), while Orlando was last (26.6).
2. Grizzlies G Grayson Allen (ankle) missed his second straight game Wednesday.
3. The Magic have won four straight matchups at home, including an overtime triumph in Orlando last season to split the season series.