The Orlando Magic used Thursday’s game as an opportunity to rest several key players – Ryan Anderson, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, Jason Richardson and Quentin Richardson and Glen Davis because of his injury. The Grizzlies took advantage, earning an 88-76 win and clinching home court advantage against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.
Hedo Turkoglu showed some positive signs, scoring 18 points in his return from facial surgery while rookie Justin Harper had a career-high 16 points and seven rebounds. Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 22 points.
With the Magic virtually conceding this game to rest their veterans, the game was over before it started and the Grizzlies made quick work of the Magic, taking a 27-9 lead after the first quarter. The Magic were somewhat competitive the rest of the way, outscoring the Grizzlies by six over the next three quarters, but a lot of that had to do with the early lead Memphis built.
- Hedo Turkoglu had a pretty good shooting night, scoring 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He played 30 minutes and also went 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Clearly, the Magic are going to need big performances from Turkoglu if they want to upset the Pacers.
- Justin Harper was just 2-of-8 from beyond the arc but he showed some of the potential many of us saw when the Magic traded two second round picks to acquire Harper. He scored 16 points and went 5-of-10 from inside the arc. He also grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots.
- Von Wafer was the only other Magic player in double figures with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
Next Up: The Magic will be in Indiana to play the Pacers in game one Saturday.
Final Thought: A rough and drama-filled regular season has come to an end.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)