Matt Barnes and J.J. Redick - USA TODAY Sports
J.J. Redick made two key plays in Orlando's upset of the Clippers on Saturday by nailing the go-ahead three-pointer and drawing an offensive foul.
J.J. Redick drilled the go-ahead three-pointer with 42.1 seconds to play, helping lift the Orlando Magic to a 104-101 win against the Los Angeles Clippers, which entered the game with the league's best record. The bucket from Redick broke a 99-all tie and helped Orlando end its 10-game losing streak.
Chris Paul answered with a pull-up jumper in the lane on L.A.'s next possession. After a Magic miss, the Clippers got out in transition, and Redick stepped in to take a charge from L.A. guard Jamal Crawford. The turnover gave Orlando possession with a one-point lead and 12.9 seconds to go. The Clippers, rather than fouling intentionally on the inbounds play, tried to force a turnover. A double-teamed Redick dished to Josh McRoberts on the left wing, who then found Nikola Vucevic under the rim for an uncontested jam.
McRoberts contested Jamal Crawford's deep three-point try at the buzzer. The initial pass went to Blake Griffin in the post, but Griffin dribbled out and handed the ball off to Crawford rather than look for his own shot.
Griffin scored 14 of his game-high-tying 30 points in the third quarter, going 7-of-8 from the floor. No defense the Magic used on Griffin worked, and his third-quarter hot streak was such that the Clippers would simply give him the ball and clear the strong side of the floor for him.
Griffin served primarily as a finisher in the first half, but worked to create his own offense, with his back to the basket or with a live dribble, in the third quarter. He finished with eight rebounds and seven assists, while Paul had 10 points, 16 assists, and four steals.
Arron Afflalo scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half, making his first four shots of the third quarter for 12 points.
A four-point play by Afflalo brought Orlando within two with 4:11 to go. On the Magic's next possession, Redick found Vucevic for a long two-point jumper to tie the score. Vucevic's shot bounced off the lip of the rim, up to the backboard, back down onto the rim, and then in.
One of L.A.'s strengths is its bench, but on Saturday it was the likes of Orlando guards Redick and Ish Smith making a difference. The Magic's second unit soundly outplayed the Clippers', particularly in the second quarter. Smith had an emphatic fast-break jam, a long two-pointer off the dribble, and a three-pointer in the period. His triple tied the score at 42 with 5:55 to go in the half.
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro called timeout and responded by inserting Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, his two All-Stars. That pair, in turn, keyed a 13-0 L.A. run over the next three minutes, accounting for all of the Clippers' points in that span via either score or assist.
The Magic did not fold when they went down 13 points to the league's best team, however. A three-pointer by Redick got the Magic to within eight points at halftime.