Tuesday, February 20, 2024

NBA Preview: Orlando Magic (23-21) at Memphis Grizzlies (17-27)

The Memphis Grizzlies won their last two contests to salvage a split of their just-completed four-game road trip.

The Grizzlies will look to continue their recent good fortune and notch a rare victory at home on Friday when they host the skidding Orlando Magic.

The Grizzlies actually won their last game in front of their home fans with a 116-107 triumph versus the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 15. Vince Williams Jr. scored 24 points to improve Memphis’ home road to 4-15, and he had a career-high 25 in the Grizzlies’ last contest — a 105-96 victory in Miami on Wednesday.

To that point, Williams made 8 of 10 shots from the floor and 5 of 6 from 3-point range versus the Heat.

Scotty Pippen Jr. added a career-best 15 points to go along with six assists and six rebounds off the bench in his second game with the team. Jaren Jackson Jr. also scored 15 points for the Grizzlies, whose ever-changing lineup needed to account for the absences of Luke Kennard (right thigh soreness) and Santi Aldama (right knee soreness).

The Magic followed up back-to-back wins earlier this month by losing six of their last eight games.

Banchero boasts team-best averages in points per game (22.5), rebounds (7.0) and assists (4.8) this season. The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year had 30 points and nine rebounds in a 123-115 setback to the Grizzlies in January 2023. He also had 24 and 11, respectively, in a 113-108 setback in Memphis last March.

Franz Wagner has totaled 36 points on 12-of-24 shooting from the floor during his last two games. He had missed the previous eight due to a sprained ankle.

For the Grizzlies, Jackson leads all healthy players by scoring 21.6 points per game.

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