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Magic and Grizzlies Enter Shoving Match, But Magic Win 107-92

In about the middle of the third quarter the Memphis Grizzlies realized that the Magic were really just going through the motions. The Grizz finally started pushing back and were right back in it, at that point, and came within 2 points of the number two team in the Eastern Conference.

Then it happened.

Matt Barnes drove at Hasheem Thabeet and the rookie drew an offensive foul - what looked to be an arm-bar - on the play. As Barnes tried to argue the call, and it was the right call, the Magic forward bumped into Thabeet. Thabeet shoulder-bumped him back; Barnes pushed Thabeet; Thabeet shoved Barnes; by then everybody was scrapping with everybody.

The benches practically cleared - even Coach Lionel Hollins got into the scrum - but there were no punches thrown.

Unfortunately the fight fired up the Magic, and the Grizzlies saw a championship caliber team that was no longer going through the motions. They didn't keep up with the new, intense Magic for very long, despite a fantastic 24 point, 18 rebound, 4 steal effort by Zach Randolph.

Zach didn't get as much help from the rest of the starters as he's used to, though. Rudy Gay had 18, Mike Conley got 14, and O.J. Mayo scored 17. That's near average for most the starters, but Hasheem Thabeet's offense was hardly average; the rookie scored 0 points in 20 minutes.

Vince Carter paced the Magic with one of his better games of the year, scoring 26 while pitching in 7 boards and 6 assists. Dwight Howard, on the other hand, had a poor game. He only scored 8 points with 11 boards, nearly fouling out.

Even though Howard had 5 blocks, the Grizzlies attacked him the right way, keeping him in foul trouble and out of his game. Other teams might want to copy the Grizzlies approach to neutralizing the big man, because a couple extra blocks aren't a bad sacrifice to keep D12 off the court.

Immediately after the fight, turnovers happened, Memphis's shots wouldn't fall, and the Magic didn't seem to miss. That's what Orlando does - you might play with them for 40 minutes of the game, but they'll break you in the 8 minutes that they're winning.