Grizzlies look for season sweep of Magic

NBA Basketball

The Memphis Grizzlies smothered the Orlando Magic offense in the first game of a back-to-back.

Now, the Grizzlies aim to do it again Saturday night when the scene shifts to Orlando.

Memphis allowed its fewest points of the season and the Magic tallied their lowest output as the Grizzlies recorded a 92-75 home win on Friday night.

Memphis held Orlando to 31.4 percent shooting in the game and outscored the Magic by 21 points in the second half to register the crucial win.

The Grizzlies (32-30) are in eighth place in the Western Conference, three games behind the sixth-place Dallas Mavericks in their bid to avoid the play-in round.

“We’re in a good place,” Memphis forward Kyle Anderson said after Friday’s win. “We have a good opportunity so we just want to keep working and take advantage of these last 10 games.”

A second straight game against Orlando isn’t a bad gift. The Magic (19-44) have won only two of their past 15 games.

Orlando’s Mo Bamba (15 points, 11 rebounds, four blocked shots) and Cole Anthony (15 points) combined to make 13 of 23 field-goal attempts on Friday. The rest of the squad was 14 of 63 (22.2 percent).

Bamba, 22, is showing signs of development by scoring in double digits in 12 of his past 17 games.

“He’s fighting his way through a little bit more than he did early in his career,” said Tyrone Corbin, who is serving as head coach during Steve Clifford’s absence due to a positive COVID-19 test.

“He’s figuring it out. He’s getting better. He’s kind of getting an identity of who he is and what’s going to make him good in this league.”

Bamba, who is in his third season, said he can feel the improvement.

“Just overall, I’m understanding the game,” Bamba said afterward. “I’m getting better. And defensively, I felt I made a step in the right direction (on Friday night).”

Corbin will be the acting coach for the fifth straight game on Saturday and it appears the team will be without swingman Terrence Ross (back) for the eighth straight contest.

Memphis will likely be without guard Grayson Allen (hand) for the second straight game. Forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who recently returned after from August knee surgery, was held out Friday but is expected to play Saturday.

The Grizzlies weren’t exactly offensive juggernauts themselves in Friday’s win. They shot just 34.3 percent from the field and scored 20 or fewer points in three different quarters.

But Memphis sizzled in the third quarter by outscoring Orlando 36-15 to turn a four-point deficit into a 75-58 lead heading into the final stanza.

“Just a few adjustments Coach made,” Anderson said of Taylor Jenkins. “We went in at halftime and realized we weren’t playing our style and had to get back to us.”

The Grizzlies also committed just nine turnovers compared to 20 for the Magic and had a 29-11 edge in fast-break points.

Dillon Brooks scored 20 points and Jonas Valanciunas contributed 14 points and 15 rebounds — his 42nd double-double of the season.

Memphis point guard Ja Morant had just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. Morant is averaging 9.0 points on 6-of-23 shooting (26.1 percent) over the past two games after averaging 29.2 percent and making 51 of 86 shots (59.3 percent) over a five-game span.

–Field Level Media

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