Orlando Magic again show their response against Memphis Grizzlies

Apr 3, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Jordan Farmar (4) defends Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) in the third quarter at Amway Center. The Orlando Magic won 119-107. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Jordan Farmar (4) defends Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) in the third quarter at Amway Center. The Orlando Magic won 119-107. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic again showed their potential with another solid performance and win over the Memphis Grizzlies, dominating the team throughout the game.

119. 38. 107. 211. Final

The Orlando Magic may have truly discovered and learned their lessons too late.

They may have learned to brush off defeat and respond to runs, to push through and step on team’s throats just too late. There is lament and frustration this could not and did not come sooner. There is a tinge of “if only we could have gone .500” then this would have meant something.

There is also the focus now of winning these games and finishing the season with some semblance of momentum. Something to carry through to next year. If such a thing exists. They have to believe it does.

It gives them something to fight for.

And right now the Orlando Magic are playing some extremely inspired basketball. Even in a game where they were not clean, they won handily, disposing the Memphis Grizzlies 119-107 at Amway Center on Sunday and trailing for only five minutes for the entire game and most of that in the fourth quarter.

ScoreOff. Rtg.eFG%O.Reb.%TO%FTR

Matt Barnes (MEM) — 24 pts.; JaMychal Green (MEM) — 11 pts., 10 rebs.
Nikola Vucevic (ORL) — 25 pts., 10 rebs.; Evan Fournier (ORL) — 22 pts.

Orlando took control of the game with a 15-4 run to start the second quarter — Nikola Vucevic anchoring that unit — and the Magic seemed to put the game plenty far out of reach.

“I think we’re doing a good job fighting through adversity and playing together,” Andrew Nicholson said. “We just had a hit-first mentality. We went in with the mindset knowing they are a tough team. We just came out with the right mindset.”

The Grizzlies would make runs but the Magic had their response ready each time. There were moments where the team lapsed and got away from the play that worked, letting their defense slip in the process too.

Orlando built as much as a 20-point lead in the game. The team was in complete control, attacking the basket and getting into the lane.

The Magic tallied 50 points in the paint, setting a clear tone in the first quarter with 20. The aggression continued as Orlando got stops and got out in transition. The Magic finished on fast breaks with Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon flying at the rim.

The Grizzlies were their physical selfs, committing 21 personal fouls, but sending the Magic to the line 29 times. Orlando was the one taking it at Memphis throughout the game rarely backing down.

“You just have to take it to them,” Nikola Vucevic said. “They are a team that plays like that. They are very physical. You have to give them a lot of credit. They have all these starters — a big part of their team out — and they still compete very well. They never let us go away. They always came back. They play very physical. You have to match it otherwise you are not going to have a chance against them. We were trying to match the physicality. It worked and we were able to get a win.”

It was far from perfect for Orlando. The Grizzlies had 12 offensive rebounds and 15 second-chance points plus their own 50 points in the paint for the game. Their hot 3-point shooting of the first quarter cooled off, but they were plenty able to score when the Magic lost focus.

The Grizzlies though could not sustain it for long stretches. Not with so many players out and unavailable. The Magic eventually were able to execute and run the team to death.

Nikola Vucevic scored 25 points off the bench to lead the bench unit and Evan Fournier and Victor Oladipo had 22 points each. Elfrid Payton added 11 assists. Aaron Gordon had 14 points and 10 rebounds with a few highlight plays of his own.

The Magic were able to win a ho-hum game. Something they have not been able to do earlier in the year.

“It’s tough going through these games and seeing our potential and how good we are and coming up short this year,” Oladipo said. “If we could change the past we would. We just have to learn from it and continue to get better.”

The Magic are playing inspired basketball again. They are racing out of the gates, taking punches and gathering themselves to finish again. It is a positive sign for a team.

Albeit a late one.

That regret and that frustration will likely haunt the team into the offseason. At least there is some solace that they can manage and secure quality wins and have quality performances before the season ends.

That may mean something, it may not. This is all a message in what could have been in many, many ways for the Magic.

What it is in isolation and within itself is fun though. The Magic are winning basketball games again as the pressure came off and as this season came to a close.

“It is frustrating when you look back at all the games we lost by one possession,” Fournier said. “We are playing better, we have a lot of confidence. That is fun right now.”