Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 112, Memphis Grizzlies 111

Cole Anthony added to his legend as the Orlando Magic escaped with a win on his buzzer beater. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Cole Anthony added to his legend as the Orlando Magic escaped with a win on his buzzer beater. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

38. Final. 111. 211. 112

The Orlando Magic trailed by 20 points in the third quarter. It was a seeming continuation of some of the lifeless struggles the team had through the first half.

The ball stuck as they settled for contested jumpers. The Orlando Magic struggled to keep the Memphis Grizzlies off the offensive glass and the shots Memphis missed in the first half Friday were going down. The Magic just seemingly hit one of those nights where they did not have it.

And this team without it is not a very good team at all.

The Magic were willing to do the work to come back. Moritz Wagner continued his hot shooting from the first half to pace the Magic. R.J. Hampton picked up speed and poured in a career-high 18 points. Everyone did their part.

But it was Cole Anthony again late. The rookie had a lackluster game for most of the contest, but something flips for him in the fourth quarter. When the game is on the line, something clicks with him. That is his time.

And just like he did in Cleveland on Wednesday, he delivered when his team needed him. He found an extra gear.

So after the back-and-fort of a game that suddenly became close, the Magic gave the ball to Anthony again. He took the ball back after inbounding it, sized up Kyle Anderson on the perimeter and found the forward wanting. A quick stepback 3-pointer later and the Magic had a surprising reason to celebrate with 0.1 seconds left.

Orlando stole a 112-111 victory over Memphis at the Amway Center, snapping a nine-game home losing streak.

Anthony had hit the second game-winning shot of his young career. He had posted a career-high scoring mark with more than half of those points coming in the fourth quarter.

Cole Anthony added to his legend, draining a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Orlando Magic a shocking come-from-behind win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

This was a player thriving in the biggest moments and stepping up in the biggest ways.

There were others — Hampton sped through the lane to get the Magic finally over the hump after the team threatened the lead throughout the fourth quarter. Wagner was the most consistent player throughout the game and his game-tying 3-pointer with a little more than a minute to play made things truly believable.

But this was Anthony’s moment. He answered Dillon Brooks’ tough jumper that seemingly gave Memphis the win heading to the final possession. Nobody saw Anthony having this big moment, creating another memory for what has turned into a strong rookie year.

. PG. Orlando Magic. COLE ANTHONY. A-

The best part of these final 15 games has been watching Cole Anthony. More than anything else, the Orlando Magic are seeing Anthony mature and grow up. The time off with the injury really seemed to help him watch the game and have it slow down for him. He is patient with his drives and keeping the ball alive. When he is driving around, he is looking for passing outlets. Anthony’s success is not based wholly on his scoring.

But, let’s be clear as coach Tyrone Corbin was following Wednesday’s win, Anthony is a scorer by nature. That is the skill that has gotten him to the NBA. And while his shooting is far from consistent yet, he has that killer instinct that is so rare. He steps up in the fourth quarter and in the biggest moments. And on this young team, he wants the ball. There is no reason not to trust him.

He had the game-winner against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the go-ahead basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers. But this was a cold-blooded, isolation, one-on-one, I’m going to beat you basket over a taller defender. Just an unbelievable shot and one that took a lot of guts and heart. Anthony scored a career-high 26 points to go with eight rebounds and six assists. He scored 15 of those 26 in the fourth quarter. Just incredible.

Orlando Magic. MORITZ WAGNER. A. . F/C

Nobody ever expected there to be a Moritz Wagner game when the Orlando Magic signed him Tuesday (Tuesday!). But here we are. Not only here we are, but we are not here without Wagner. He was the best player for the Magic for most of the game. He was the lone guy capable of hitting shots consistently throughout the game. That was the only thing keeping the magic even remotely in contact.

Wagner finished with 24 points on 8-for-15 shooting with four 3-pointers. He had only five rebounds, which might have been the lone weakness in his game. The Grizzlies made a living on the glass throughout the game. But that is not why the Magic brought him in. They brought him in for his ability to shoot from deep and spread the floor with a slight mix of a post-up game to go with it.

A. . G. Orlando Magic. R.J. HAMPTON

All the Orlando Magic want to see from R.J. Hampton is one game where he flashes what could make him a valuable player for the franchise moving forward. That can come with some general improvement, but if there could be one game where he put all the pieces together and burst through, they would be thrilled. This was that game.

Hampton scored a career-high 18 points, hitting 7 of 14 shots to go with two 3-pointers and added five assists. This was the complete picture the magic wanted to see from Hampton. And his play was as important as anyone else as the Magic tried to stay in contact and in the game.

Hampton’s end-to-end speed is still his best skill. And he will sometimes use that too much and get caught in traps or someplace he cannot escape easily. Hampton will sometimes try to do a little too much. But all the pieces are there. And if his 3-point shot is falling, Hampton can become very dangerous.

B+. . G/F. Orlando Magic. DWAYNE BACON

There are two sides to Dwayne Bacon. One side is him being a crafty and wily driver and shot creator, able to create space for himself to get his jumper off or wriggle through the lane to finish at the basket with some flourish and difficulty. Then there is the side where he settles for these difficult shots and does not move the ball. The ball sticks with him.

Orlando got a bit of both of that in this game. But ultimately, the good parts of Bacon won and that is why the team was able to win. Bacon scored seven of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. He had 15 of his 23 on 5-for-8 shooting in the second half — leaving him with eight points on 4-for-7 shooting in the first half. Orlando might like to see him move the ball more and be more selective with his shot selection. But that is what you get with Bacon.

C+. . 32-31. 8th West. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

The Memphis Grizzlies are scratching their heads after this one. They had everything rolling and were in complete control through the first half. They had the Orlando Magic struggling to convert and create efficient shots and just scratching their heads. It looked like they were carrying over their success, attacking the offensive glass and getting out in transition that works in Friday’s win.

But things fell apart gradually. They struggled to track the Magic on their transition opportunities and too often they led the Magic get some free run to the paint. They were only left to foul and that helped counteract the Grizzlies’ advantage on the glass.

Orlando eventually locked in defensively and did a good job forcing Memphis into tough shots and contested shots at every turn. When it looked like Memphis was ready to put the game away, Orlando found a shot to keep the team in it.

Next. Orlando Magic's climb back up starts with the basics. dark

The Magic are now 20-44 and 14th in the Eastern Conference. They have been eliminated from playoff contention.

The Orlando Magic will be eliminated from receiving the seventh-best odds to win the Lottery with three more losses or three more Sacramento Kings wins. They will be eliminated from receiving the best odds to win the Lottery with eight more wins or eight more Minnesota Timberwolves losses.

The Orlando Magic are back in action Monday at the Detroit Pistons.