Magic Musings: Career night for Payton not enough to overcome Grizzlies

ORLANDO, Fla. — Even with Elfrid Payton turning in the best game of his young NBA career, the Orlando Magic was unable to make it three wins in a row against high-caliber opponents.

The Magic were defeated 106-96 Friday night by the Memphis Grizzlies, owners of the third-best record in the Western Conference at 28-11. Payton posted career highs in points with 22 and assists with 12, but the rookie point guard couldn’t keep the Magic on their roll of scoring at least 120 points.

Except for Devyn Marble, the rookie forward who made his fourth start in a row for the injured Tobias Harris, all of the Magic’s starters scored at least 16 points. The problem was that the Grizzles shot 50 percent from the floor after trailing 49-48 at halftime, thus preventing the Magic from pushing the pace like they did in victories over the Chicago Bulls and the Houston Rockets.

The Grizzlies also finished with a 47-39 advantage in rebounds, with Zach Randolph grabbing as many offensive rebounds (5) as the Magic.

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol had a solid all-around game with 12 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocked shots. Former Magic point guard Beno Udrih filled in capably for the injured Mike Conley with 15 points, five assists and only one turnover in almost 29 minutes.

Victor Oladipo had 16 points for the Magic but was just 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

THE TURNING POINT

The Magic never led after Jeff Green’s three-point play in the third quarter where he dunked over Oladipo put the Grizzlies up 61-59.

Grizzlies 106, Magic 96

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Green had 17 of his team-high 21 points in the second half and outscored the Magic’s bench by himself.

STAT OF THE GAME

From the second quarter on, the Magic had only two points off fast breaks and were outscored in the paint 42-26.

WHAT’S NEXT

Sunday night vs. Oklahoma City, 6 p.m.

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