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Depleted Magic show fight, but fall in Memphis

2013 February 23
by Brian Serra
Despite playing four rookies major minutes, the Magic hung tough. #nkotb

Despite playing four rookies major minutes, the Magic hung tough. #nkotb

Seven players available. Four rookies. Two sophomores. One sixth year senior and a six point loss. With just seven players available the Orlando Magic were able to somehow keep it close against the Memphis Grizzlies before falling late 88-83.

After shipping out J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith to Milwaukee and Josh McRoberts to Charlotte, the Magic were immediately down four roster spots. With Hedo suspended, Baby out for the year and Jameer Nelson out with a strained left patella tendon, Orlando was able to dress just eight players. Al Harrington dressed, but still was left as a “DNP Coach’d Decision”.

Still, with those heavy odds against them the Magic were trailing by just three points with five minutes to play thanks to a Moe Harkless breakaway dunk. Harkless finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds for the night. He’s averaging 18 points a game since the All-Star break.

After Orlando pulled within three, the depth issues fully caught up. Nik Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson both were fouled out of the game just 30 seconds after the Harkless bucket that got them close. Eight points from the Memphis front-line of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph over the next three minutes sealed the game for Memphis. Gasol and Randolph finished with a combined 35 points, 27 rebounds and 8 assists.

Arron Afflalo tied his career high in assists for the second straight night with seven and led the team in scoring with 20 points.

The Magic are back in action tonight at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7pm. Jameer Nelson is listed as OUT for the game, but Orlando is expected to have Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih available to play.

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