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Randolph, Grizzlies overpower Magic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Zach Randolph knew. When it was mentioned that he flirted with a triple-double — 24 points, 10 rebounds, six assists — the Memphis Grizzlies power forward nodded a little and laughed a lot.

“Just playing, man, feeling good,” he said.

Since he returned from a right knee injury, Randolph has nine consecutive double-doubles. As the Grizzlies defeated the Orlando Magic 103-94 Monday night at FedExForum, Randolph recorded his 14th in his last 15 games. As always, he did his work with a unique mix of muscle and deception, and little to no elevation. Although he did manage to dunk once.

At age 33, he was supposed to be slowing down. Although he twice made the NBA All-Star Game with Memphis (in the 2009-10 and 2012-13 seasons), he believes his game is the most complete it has ever been.

“All around, yes,” Randolph said. “Especially on defense. I’m still in my prime.”

Point guard Mike Conley, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter after spraining his left wrist, said of Randolph: “He might play till he’s 40.”

No doubt, life is made easier playing next to center Marc Gasol, who will start this season’s All-Star Game for the Western Conference. Gasol also had a double-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Reserve point guard Beno Udrih added 15 points, five assists and four steals.

Memphis (32-12) swept the season series 2-0 from the Magic and earned its eighth consecutive victory over the Magic. The Grizzlies’ last loss to Orlando was in November 2010.

Orlando (15-33) dropped its sixth straight game overall.

The Magic got within 81-69 when guard Victor Oladipo (18 points) made a tip-in with 3:43 to go in the third quarter. Memphis led 89-73 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Magic cut the advantage to nine points twice, but not until there was less than 1:10 left in the game.

Memphis put up its season scoring high for a half and led 67-48 at the break. Randolph scored 18 points in the first half.

“He got going early, even played 15 minutes straight and still got mad when I took him out,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said.

The Magic outscored Memphis 46-36 in the second half, but the outcome was never in doubt. Still, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn found encouragement from the second-half defensive effort.

“I’m a pretty simple guy,” he said. “I’m just asking them to play together and to play hard. Twenty-two points in the third and a 14-point fourth quarter (for the opponent) — that’ll give you a chance to win games and compete. It’s a willingness to get dirty, playing together and not mind getting hit. Have confrontation and be OK with it and be scrappy.”

The Grizzlies made 36 of 76 shots, 47.4 percent. The Magic hit on 37 of 78 shots, 47.4 percent. Orlando recorded just 14 assists, while Memphis had 25.

Magic center Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and reserve center/forward Dewayne Dedmon finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Elfrid Payton chipped in 12 points with six assists.

Dedmon was inactive the previous two games and didn’t play in the game before that. He entered Monday averaging 11 minutes per game, but he saw 30 minutes of action off the bench against the Grizzlies.

“It will never affect me,” he said of not playing. “Of course, I want to play basketball, but I’ll always be ready when my number is called.”

Vaughn started the second half with Dedmon on the floor instead of forward Channing Frye.

“I wanted a different look,” Vaughn said. “Dedmon’s energy was very spirited, and overall he was aggressive in guarding the post. He just tried extremely hard, and I appreciate it.”

NOTES: Grizzlies G/F Tony Allen was inactive Monday because of a left ankle sprain sustained in Saturday’s victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Allen’s 2.0 steals per game rank third in the NBA. … Memphis F Jeff Green scored in double figures for the sixth time in seven games since being acquired from the Boston Celtics. He scored 12 points Monday. … C Nikola Vucevic entered the night leading the Magic with averages of 19.6 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn says Vucevic is benefitting from the threat posed by guards Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton. “He’s been a recipient of it — whether off their penetration, him following the shots or getting deep post position,” Vaughn said. … The Grizzlies recalled rookie G Jordan Adams from their NBA Development League affiliate, the Iowa Energy.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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