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Randolph helps undermanned Grizzlies get past Magic

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The Canadian Press
12/9/2013 10:49:17 PM
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- As the injury list continues to grow for the Memphis Grizzlies, reserves like Jon Leuer are seizing the opportunities they get.

Leuer scored 16 points and grabbed a career-best 12 rebounds Monday night to help the short-handed Grizzlies build an early lead and hold on to defeat the Orlando Magic 94-85.

"We've had a lot of guys go down," Leuer said. "It obviously makes it tough, but it opens up other opportunities for guys to come in and contribute."

Memphis' reserves outscored their Orlando counterparts 38-4, helping send the Magic to their sixth straight loss. The Grizzlies' bench players are getting more playing time as injuries to four key players left only nine available against Orlando.

Memphis centre Marc Gasol is out indefinitely with a knee injury, while Ed Davis (ankle) and Tony Allen (hip) also sat out. Earlier in the day, the Grizzlies announced guard/forward Quincy Pondexter will miss significant time, possibly the rest of the season, with a right foot stress fracture.

"Guys are stepping up. That's what we need. We need everybody now," said Memphis forward Zach Randolph, who led the Grizzlies with 19 points and matched Leuer's 12 boards, part of Memphis' 52-35 rebounding advantage.

Mike Conley had 13 points for Memphis and Jerryd Bayless finished with 11 points, including a late 3-pointer to preserve the win and end a two-game slide. Conley also had seven assists.

The Magic were missing centre Nikola Vucevic, their leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, who missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle.

"The good thing is these bumps are coming early as far as tough losses and guys not being healthy," said Magic centre Glen Davis, who had 16 points and nine rebounds. "If we can get guys healthy and learn to stay together, we can overcome these obstacles."

Andrew Nicholson and Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 19 points apiece. Nicholson also grabbed 11 rebounds while hitting 8 of 12 from the field. Arron Afflalo scored 17 points and Victor Oladipo added 10. Jason Maxiell was Orlando's sole reserve to score, getting four points.

Memphis, which led by as many as 23 in the game, held a 14-point lead with just over 7 minutes left, but had to withstand a final push from the Magic.

"There is always a point in the game that you can give in, or you can choose to rally around each other and try to fight," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We put a group out on the floor that gave us a chance to do that. They gave us a chance to win."

The short bench didn't seem to faze Memphis in the first half. The Grizzlies used 19 unanswered points spanning the first and second quarters to take a 51-30 lead at the break.

While Memphis was going on its 19-0 run, the Magic went almost 7 minutes without scoring.

Nicholson did his best to pull the Magic back into the game, scoring 13 points in the third. That allowed Orlando to pull within 10 before Jamaal Franklin's 3-pointer at the horn gave Memphis a 73-60 lead entering the final quarter.

But the Magic continued to push behind Afflalo, whose seven early points in the final frame included a pair of free throws with 4:19 left to get Orlando within 85-78. The run eventually would reach 12-2, and the Magic were within 87-83.

But Randolph scored the next three points, and the Grizzlies weathered the rally for only their second win in the last seven home games.

"It's tough. It's real tough," Randolph said of the injuries. "We've got to just come out and play. Everyone has to step up like they've been doing."

NOTES: Franklin had a career-high eight points. ... The Grizzlies had their string of eight consecutive games with eight different leading scorers end. ... Memphis G Nick Calathes had a career-high eight assists. ... Leuer's previous best in rebounds was nine on two occasions, including earlier this month against Phoenix. ... Orlando is 1-10 on the road this season.

Zach Randolph (Photo: Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
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