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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Orlando Magic Game Preview

The ultimate battle of the tanks will be a battle for the ages, in the most unfortunate way.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (18-43, 5-23 away) @ Orlando Magic (18-44, 12-18 home)

WHERE: Amway Center in Orlando, FL

WHEN: 6:00 PM CT

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: FOX Sports Southeast/92.9FM Memphis

Injury Report-

MEMPHIS: Mike Conley (Out, Heel), Chandler Parsons (Out, illness), Tyreke Evans (Out, rib), Deyonta Davis (Out, ankle), Andrew Harrison (Questionable, wrist)

ORLANDO: Terrence Ross (Out, knee)

PROJECTED STARTERS –

MEMPHIS: Mario Chalmers, Ben McLemore, Dillon Brooks, Jarrell Martin, Ivan Rabb

ORLANDO: D.J. Augustin, Evan Fournier, Jonathon Simmons, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic


As the tank battle grows increasingly competitive, with legitimately more teams vying for the top draft odds spot than the top playoff seeds in each conference, this match up is as competitive as it will get. Orlando is coming off an overtime win against the Detroit Pistons, which moves them from last to second-to-last in the Eastern Conference. Every loss is important in this race. After Friday night’s loss to the Nuggets, Memphis solely owns the worst record in the league, but this game could shake up the lottery race.

Orlando snapped a seven-game losing streak, while the Grizzlies are nursing a twelve-game losing streak. Something has to give on Saturday night. While the Grizzlies have to be the most injury prone team in the league, the Magic are just built poorly. With only one injury of note currently, Orlando has had full use of their roster for much of the season. This will be a good game for the young guys Memphis is bringing to each contest, giving them a chance to play against lesser talent with a chance to win.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando has two rising starts in Aaron Gordon, who has now learned that basketball is more than dunking, and Evan Fournier, both of whom are averaging 18 points per game. Fournier is a tough match-up for anyone on the Grizz roster; he is a legit scorer with the basketball IQ to pick apart in any defense.

Coincidentally, both Orlando and Memphis have a point differential of -4.6, with the Magic unsurprisingly playing a faster pace than the Grizz. They score just over 105 points per game while Memphis averages just over 98. Through the first seven games of this season, both of these teams were in the top of their respective conferences. As Michael Scott of The Office once said, “Oh, how the turn tables.”

Down the home stretch of this 2017-18 season, these teams are in the thick of the race for the best lottery odds. There has to be a winner of this game, only because that’s how basketball works. This game could have implications towards who is truly the best loser in the league, with both teams making strong cases for themselves. Marc Gasol will likely sit because of the back-to-back (and because he tweaked his ankle last night) and the young guys will be out in full force. Here’s to a long night of bad basketball that might make this game somewhat competitive.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

THE PREDICTION

This game will be sloppy and low scoring. Memphis still plays solid defense, they just can’t score. Orlando is not good, but does have some decent pieces. Aaron Gordon will take advantage of the slower and less-high-flying bigs of Memphis, while Fournier will eat up the young guards. As much as Orlando needs to lose, and most likely wants to, the Grizzlies are just too bad. Memphis is an unstoppable tank, for better or worse. I expect a close game, with Memphis down just a few points to start the fourth quarter.

To be incredibly specific, I see Memphis with a chance to win late in the fourth only to result in a Mario Chalmers flop-shot or turnover. He is our tank MVP.

Orlando 105, Memphis 101