ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 102-86 last night in their fourth preseason game at the Amway Center (2-2).
The Magic had a major scare in the second quarter when second year forward Jonathan Isaac rose to his feet after Memphis’ JaMychal Green fell into his left leg and sent him sprawling to the Amway Center parquet floor. The hard hit, combined with Isaac’s frustrating history of ankle injuries, sent a sudden hush over the crowd at the Amway Center and many along the Magic bench didn’t breathe a sigh of relief until the 6-foot-11, 226-pound Isaac sprang back up to his feet.
Isaac impressed with a pair of highlight-reel dunks in the first half Wednesday night and he scored 15 points.
“As the course of the game went on, I definitely felt more and more comfortable. Getting rebounds and getting defensive stops really calmed me down and allowed me to hit some shots,” said Isaac, who also had a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter when the Magic pulled away.
The Magic started the usual four, DJ Augustine, Aaron Gordon, Evan Fourier, Nic Vucevic, plus Isaac.
Mohamed Bamba was ruled out for Wednesday’s preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies because of a bruised right (shooting) wrist, an injury he suffered Monday at Miami.
Wes Iwundu, Jarell Martin, Melvin Frazier Jr., Jerian Grant and Khem Birch were inserted after nine minutes and impressed once they came in by not only keeping pace with the Grizzlies but building a lead that would become a 54-41 margin at halftime.
Isaac, though saddled with foul trouble early after picking up his third personal only about six minutes into the contest, did not lose his aggressiveness. He left the game after the third foul and picked up his fourth foul shortly after re-entry in the second quarter.
Magic coach Steve Clifford said it was the defensive side of the court that impressed him about Isaac’s performance.
“He makes such a difference. … He just plays in a way that he helps his teammates play better,” Clifford said. “He makes simple plays on offense, he’s always in the right spots, he’s very smart, he doesn’t over play … and then his defense … his team defense is so good, so good. … He’s just a good player.”
Isaac kept rolling to start the second half, hitting a pair of 3-pointers as the Magic bolted out to a 15-point lead, their biggest to that point. Isaac also had eight rebounds and Augustin had six assists.
The usually consistent and solid Vucevic was a bit off Wednesday. The 7-footer, who had been the Magic’s top performer in the first three games with averages of 21 points and eight rebounds, hit just 3 of 10 shots and had seven points. Vucevic did manage 11 rebounds.
Gordon matched Isaac with a team high 15 points. Fournier, who has struggled with his shot all preseason, was also 3 of 10 on field goals.
Three other Magic players missed the game. Terrence Ross (foot) sat out his third straight game, Timofey Mozgov (dislocated finger) has yet to play, and Jonathon Simmons missed the contest due to a personal matter.
Magic sign Petrucelli, waive Johnson
The Magic signed free agent guard John Petrucelli on Wednesday and waived B.J. Johnson, who will probably end up at G League affiliate Lakeland.
Petrucelli (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) appeared in 43 games (seven starts) last season with the Lakeland Magic. He averaged 8.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game. He has played in 75 career G League games with Erie and Lakeland. The 25-year-old Petrucelli, who turns 26 this month, spent two seasons (2014-16) in Slovakia after playing at Molloy College in New York.