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Orlando Magic @ Memphis Grizzlies

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Orlando looks to win their third straight game Monday night when they travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies. The Magic had a fourth quarter letdown and needed overtime to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats. The 23-19 Grizzlies have been the surprise of the league and last played on Friday night. They defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in a back-and-fourth game.

The Magic put an end to Charlotte’s nine-game home winning streak on Saturday and will try to one up that performance by ending Memphis’s 10-game home winning streak. Memphis last lost at home on December 14th against the Boston Celtics and have a 16-5 home record. The Magic are 13-11 on the road this season and had dropped nine of their last 11 on the road before winning Saturday night.

Tip-off from the FedEx Forum in Memphis is set for 8:00 pm EST and you can watch the game on Sun Sports. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen to it locally on WDBO AM 580 and in Spanish on WONQ AM 1030.

The Line: Orlando -1.5

Starters:

Orlando

Dwight Howard
Rashard Lewis
Matt Barnes
Vince Carter
Jameer Nelson

Memphis

Marc Gasol
Zack Randolph
Rudy Gay
O.J. Mayo
Mike Conley

The Grizzlies split their first two games this season before losing seven in a row. Since that 1-8 start, the Grizzlies are 22-11 and have been even better as of late, winning 13 of their last 17 games.

The Grizzlies have been one of the best offensive teams in basketball this year. They average 104.0 points per game and rank ninth in offense efficiency.

Zack Randolph has been great for Memphis. He has started in all 42 games, is scoring a team-high 20.9 points per game on 50.5% shooting and is grabbing 11.4 rebounds per game. The often criticized Randolph ranks fifth in PER among all Power Forwards is having the most efficient season of his career.

Randolph is going to be quite the challenge for Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson. You’d think Dwight Howard may be able to cover Randolph, but he’ll have his hands full with Pau Gasol’s younger brother, Marc. Marc is following up a good rookie year with an excellent sophomore campaign. The soon-to-be 25-year old Gasol is averaging 14.8 points on 60.4% shooting, 9.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Gasol, like Randolph has started all 42 games.

The wing positions are being held down by two young, rising stars. 23-year old Forward Rudy Gay is Memphis’s second leading scorer (20.6 points per game) and has become the subject of trade talk because of his expiring contract. Shooting Guard O.J. Mayo, who scored 18.0 points per game as a rookie, is scoring 18.1 per game in his second season. Most of Mayo’s numbers are comparable to last season and his scoring is down, but his shooting percentage is up and his turnovers are down.

Mike Conley runs the team at the Point.

Defense is a different story for the Grizz. They give up 103.9 points per game and are the seventh least efficient team in the league. Teams shoot 48% against the Grizzlies and the Magic should be able to score with relative ease.

Orlando’s effort and intensity, especially on the defensive end has been much better over the last four games outside of a few letdowns (the fourth quarters against the Lakers and Bobcats). If the Magic bring that same effort on the defensive end tonight, they should be able to get a victory.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)