The Orlando Magic suffered a 101-81 defeat Monday as they opened a West Coast roadtrip against the Los Angeles Clippers. Orlando shot just 35.7 percent from the floor, flirting with a franchise record for worst single-game shooting percentage for most of the game before a 10-of-19 showing in the fourth.
Darren Collison led the Clippers with a season-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while DeAndre Jordan tallied 14 points, 17 rebounds, and eight blocked shots. Orlando, which has lost each of its last four games, got 22 apiece from Victor Oladipo and Maurice Harkless off the bench, with that figure setting a new season-high for Harkless.
L.A. jumped out to a 20-3 lead after just over six minutes and never looked back as Orlando missed 11 of its first 12 shots. Orlando didn't make consecutive field goals until their 14th and 15th possessions of the game, with a Nik Vučević long two bringing it to within 14 points at 23-9.
In his first stint off the bench, Harkless gave Orlando a lift, scoring seven points in the final six minutes of the first quarter, including a three-pointer with six seconds left to bring Orlando within 18.
The Clippers pushed their lead to 24 early in the second quarter, but Oladipo and Glen Davis made some energetic plays to close the deficit to 14 points in less than three minutes.
Orlando would score just two points in the remaining 5:53 of the half as L.A. extended its lead to 26 off a Collison layup with four seconds to go. The Magic topped the Clippers in Orlando earlier in the season, even though L.A. had its regular starting backcourt of Chris Paul and J.J. Redick. One would never have guessed as much Monday, given how thoroughly the Clippers dominated both ends without those two available.
The game got more lopsided in the second half as L.A. continued to score with impunity: a fast-break dunk from Jordan off a Jamal Crawford feed pushed the hosts' lead to 35 points. But before that, the Magic suffered a loss more alarming than anything than Tuesday's final result: Vucevic, in his first game back from a sprained left ankle, hurdled Blake Griffin on a rebound attempt and couldn't break his fall, crashing to the court on his hip and hitting his head. He left the game and didn't return as the Magic evaluated his injury status.
A Davis tip-in cut at the third-quarter horn cut L.A.'s lead to 30 points. The Clippers opened the fourth with a pair of Ryan Hollins foul shots--to the delight, no doubt, of the one fan in the arena chanting his name--but Orlando responded by ripping off 16 unanswered points, prompting an angry Doc Rivers to call timeout and re-insert his starters. Oladipo and Harkless continued their strong play during that Magic run.
The Clippers' starters made an immediate impact after Rivers' timeout, with Griffin getting a dunk on their first offensive possession. Harkless followed that play with an impressive drive against the Jordan, taking him off the dribble and lofting the ball in over him after drawing the sixth-year center on a switch.
Crawford drained a high-arcing three from the left corner at the 3:38 mark to put L.A. back up by 22 points, which basket seemed to satisfy Rivers: he pulled his starters, two by two, at each successive break in play.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn made no such substitutions, using the same smallish, five-man unit of Oladipo, Doron Lamb, E`Twaun Moore, Harkless, and Jason Maxiell for the entire fourth period.