for this game

Magic look for rare win against lowly Grizzlies

Apr 8, 2009 - 5:44 AM By Alan Ferguson Stats Writer

Memphis (22-55) at Orlando (57-20) 7:00 p.m. EDT

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- Suffering through a rare off night, the Orlando Magic missed a chance to tie for second place in the Eastern Conference.

After facing three straight playoff-bound teams, the Magic will try to benefit from an easier slate in their final five games, but they haven't fared well against the Memphis Grizzlies, whom they host Wednesday night.

After wins over Cleveland and Atlanta, Orlando endured one of its worst performances of the season Tuesday night in a 93-83 loss in Houston. Held to their fourth-lowest point total of 2008-09, the Magic shot 38.0 percent from the field despite making 10 3-pointers.

The loss pushed Orlando one game back of Boston for second in the East with five games left for both teams. The Celtics host New Jersey on Wednesday night then face Cleveland, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington in their final five contests, while none of Orlando's remaining opponents are in playoff contention.

After Wednesday's game, the Magic host New York, then travel to New Jersey and Milwaukee before finishing the regular season at home against Charlotte on April 15. Orlando is a combined 11-0 against those four teams, but has dropped 10 of its last 13 meetings with the Grizzlies including an 86-84 loss October 31 in Memphis.

The Magic are winners of eight of their last nine home games overall, but have lost four of the last six games against the Grizzlies there despite All-Star center Dwight Howard scoring 31 points in each of the last two. Howard grabbed 20 rebounds in Memphis' last visit - a 123-119 loss on December 15, 2007, but was held to 13 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday's loss.

"I got a little too frustrated with the way the game was being called and didn't play my game," he said.

Rashard Lewis scored a team-high 22 against Houston, and is averaging 26.0 points in his last five matchups with Memphis.

The Grizzlies' four-game win streak ended 96-93 at home Tuesday night as Portland's Travis Outlaw banked in a 14-foot shot with 13 seconds left. Memphis, which failed to reach 100 points for the first time in five games, couldn't hold on to a 12-point halftime lead.

"It really wasn't our offense, it was our defense," coach Lionel Hollins said. "We broke down on the pick-and-roll defense a couple of times, and they got wide open layups."

Hollins' team will try to attempt to win three straight road games for the first time since April 12-19, 2006, and clinch its best record since 2005-06.

Grizzlies star O.J. Mayo, leading all rookies with 18.4 points per game, scored 31 Tuesday for his seventh 30-point game of the season. He had 17 in the October win over Orlando.

Rudy Gay scored a team-leading 29 points in that contest, increasing his average to 27.0 points in his last three games against the Magic.