Magic Musings: Orlando goes cold early in loss to Memphis

The Orlando Magic are going through a cold snap, one that has nothing to do with the weather that impacted much of the country and a number of NFL games over the weekend.

For the second time in as many nights, they slogged through a horrible shooting performance in the first half and couldn’t recover. Even with the Memphis Grizzlies suiting up only nine players, they had just enough firepower to extend the Magic’s losing streak to six by coming away with a 94-85 victory.

The Magic had no 3-point field goals and no offensive rebounds over the first two quarters. Jameer Nelson and Andrew Nicholson both knocked down a pair of long-range shots to help the Magic cut a 21-point halftime deficit to 10, but a 3-pointer by rookie Jamaal Franklin as the third quarter ended gave the Grizzlies a huge lift.

A 12-2 run by the Magic in the fourth quarter made it a 87-83 game before two free throws and a basket by Zach Randolph gave the Grizzlies some breathing room.   

Nikola Vucevic was unavailable for a fourth game in a row because of a sprained left ankle. The Grizzlies were without guards Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter, forward Ed Davis and center Marc Gasol.

Nicholson finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots in his third consecutive start. The blocks tied a career high.

Jacque Vaughn was assessed his first technical foul of the season and only his third since becoming coach of the Magic. The other two came when he was ejected for a game last March at Indiana.

The turning point

The Magic went scoreless for a stretch of almost seven minutes as the Grizzlies built a 21-point lead. Until Nicholson’s hook shot with 6:40 to go in the second quarter, they had missed all nine field-goal attempts and turned the ball over five times.

The difference maker

Randolph, who has been a nuisance to the Magic throughout his career, was a force again with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Stat of the game

The Grizzlies’ four non-starters outscored the Magic’s reserves 38-4, with those points coming on two baskets by Jason Maxiell. All five Magic starters played at least 37 minutes.

What’s next

Wednesday night at Charlotte, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).

You can follow Ken Hornack on Twitter @HornackFSFla or email him at khornack32176@gmail.com.