ORLANDO - The Orlando Magic is starting the preseason on the wrong foot after a 109-97 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night at FedEx Forum.
The biggest storyline of the night involved No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero's debut, and the former Duke Blue Devil struggled, shooting 2 of 9 for the field for a mere eight points in just 24 minutes of action.
The Grizzlies held the lead for most of the game, leading by as much as 19 points. All-Star point guard Ja Morant led all scorers with 22 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field in 22 minutes. Second-year forward Santi Aldama also added 21 points and Brandon Clarke scored 13 off the bench.
In terms of the Magic, Mo Wagner, R.J. Hampton and Terrence Ross had strong showings off the bench. All three role players scored in double digits. Point guard Cole Anthony led all Magic scorers with 17 points and five rebounds. The Magic put emphasis on the three-point shot tonight, making 18 of 54 attempts from beyond the three-point line.
Overall, the Magic had some bright spots tonight, but given the nature of the preseason opener, the result doesn't matter as such. Orlando can look at the positives the team had tonight and move forward with that.
The Magic return to action Thursday night against the San Antonio Spurs on the road. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
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