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The Neighborhood Bully

Official Game Thread: Magic @ Grizzlies

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Read or watch any early season discussion of the NBA’s most surprising teams in pro basketball, and you’ll probably see the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies atop the list.

The Magic supposedly didn’t have enough quality outside shooters to compete in the modern NBA. Instead, they’ve won primarily because of stellar 3-point shooting and improved ball movement.

The Grizzlies supposedly were going to miss Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Vince Carter, who signed elsewhere during the offseason. Instead, the Grizzlies have remained just as stingy on defense as they’ve always been.

Tonight’s game between the Magic (5-2) and Grizzlies (5-2) at the FedEx Forum will provide additional clues about whether the unexpected starts are flukes.

“If I looked at our team from the beginning of the season, I don’t know where I would have picked us either,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said. “There’s a lot of unknowns on this team. I said that from the beginning: I don’t know how good this team could be. And I don’t know if people knew how good Orlando can be.”

Orlando and Memphis entered today in a three-way tie with the Boston Celtics for the NBA’s best record.

And the surprises don’t stop there.

The Magic rank second in the league in points scored per possession after they finished last season 29th in the same category. The team leads the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage, making 44.1 percent of its attempts, after it finished 29th last season, at 32.8 percent.

“They have an idea of what they want to do, what they want to accomplish,” Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said. “You can see an identity that they want to get to, and they play with confidence. They’re sharing the ball. They’re moving it well. They have a lot of unselfish players that understand the game very well and [are] knowing where their shots are going to come from, and they’re doing a good job. And making shots always helps.”

Memphis has allowed the fifth-lowest points per possession this year, a slight improvement over last season.

So tonight’s game will test the Magic’s suddenly prolific offense.

“It’s important for us offensively to play smart,” Magic center Nikola Vucevic said. “You don’t want to kind of fall for what they give you. You want to make them work. They’re a very smart defensive team. They’re going to give you looks, but you have to work for the better ones.”

Magic point guard Elfrid Payton will miss his sixth consecutive game because of a left-hamstring injury, coach Frank Vogel said.

The Grizzlies have listed Gasol and point guard Mike Conley as questionable to play tonight. Gasol already had a sore left ankle, and he said he rolled it on Tuesday. Conley is dealing with a sore left Achilles’ tendon and sore left heel. Both players said decisions about whether they play tonight will be determined close to tipoff.

The Magic prepared as if Gasol and Conley will play, and Vogel expects a tough test from the Grizzlies no matter what.

“Defensively . . . they work extremely hard,” Vogel said. “They grind you down. They force misses. They flood the paint. Nothing’s going to be easy on the offensive end. So we’ve got to make sure we just execute the way we’ve been executing: play with pace, try to get early strikes, and be smart with our shot selection.”

Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies

WHERE: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn. WHEN: 8 p.m.

BROADCAST: TV — Fox Sports Florida. RADIO — 580 AM (WDBO). SPANISH BROADCAST — 98.1 FM (WNUE).

THE BUZZ: Gasol is one of the NBA’s best centers, averaging 20.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. … Conley is one of the game’s most underrated point guards, averaging 17.3 points and 4.3 assists per game. … The teams split their two games last season. On Dec. 1, the Grizzlies won 95-94 in Memphis. On Dec. 26, the Magic won 112-102 in Orlando.




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If we can win tonight's game, then Fridays vs the bulls and Sundays vs the Celtics, well be sitting pretty awesome in the standings. Not sure my poor fan heart could take that. 

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5 minutes ago, Payton4thewin said:

We win this. We beat Chicago.  We're  7-2 people freak out.  We lose to Boston

We won't lose a home game until December.

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2 minutes ago, DirtDan2012 said:

I'd rather beat them WITH their 2 best players on the floor. Give me a break people. Sheesh......

You don't get extra points for beating healthy teams.  Whatever gets us the win. 

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