Coming off a needed victory in Atlanta, the Orlando Magic were unable to keep their momentum going against the Los Angeles Clippers, falling late 113-108.
After scoring a season-high 131 points against the Hawks, the Magic offense came out with a good pace, finding and hitting some open shots throughout the open quarter. The Magic moved the ball as well as they have all season, finishing with eight first quarter assists on nine made field goals. While their offense took advantage of the Clippers switching everything on the defensive end, the Magic were not able to slow down the Clippers defensively, allowing the visitors to shoot 52.4 percent from the field in the quarter. After 12 minutes, the hot shooting Clippers lead the Magic by five, 30-25.
As the offense continued it’s strong play, the Magic defense continued to be non-existent. After the Clippers hot first quarter, they were even better in the second, finishing 12-20 from the field, including 5-10 from beyond the arc. The Magic in their own right were strong offensively, shooting 10-21, and 4-6 from beyond the arc, while notching six assists on their 10 makes. Despite some of the best play of Aaron Gordon’s career in the first half, the Magic let the Clippers distance themselves some late, trailing by nine, 60-51, at the half.
Out of halftime, the Magic came with energy, something that has plagued them all season, especially on the second night of back-to-backs. As they offense continued to roll like a well oiled machine, the Magic began playing “Hack-A-Jordan” sending DeAndre Jordan to the free throw line on seven consecutive possessions. The act didn’t work, however, with Jordan going 10-14 on those seven trips, with the Magic only cutting the Clippers lead down by one in that stretch. Despite the lack of success fouling Jordan, the Magic shot a blistering 15-25 in the quarter, including 6-9 from three to tie the game at 87 heading into the fourth.
With their offense flowing, things seemed to be moving in the Magic’s favors, until the fourth quarter began. Playing their 10th game in 16 nights, the Magic began slowing offensively, making just two of their first nine attempts in the quarter. With the Clippers continuing to make shots from beyond the arc, the Magic’s offensive struggles late cost them a chance at a quality victory.
Hometown kid Austin Rivers led the way for the Clippers with 25, including seven three-pointers. Blake Griffin added 23, with frontcourt mate DeAndre Jordan adding 22 points and 12 rebounds. Chris Paul finished with an 14-point, 10-assists double-double. Former Magic sharpshooter J.J. Redick added 10.
Gordon finished a highlight filled career-night with a game-high 33. Evan Fournier added 24, with Jeff Green scoring 19 off the Magic bench.