Redick Sails Magic Past League-Best Clippers
Be proud of how Jacque Vaughn has this Orlando bunch never ever giving up. The Magic are no longer the best 10-game losing streak squad on the planet. With 42.1 seconds remaining the game, JJ Redick’s beautiful stepback 3-pointer past Matt Barnes put Orlando up three. Redick would the take a gutsy charge to get Orlando the ball late. Nik Vucevic’s flush clinched the end of their skid as Orlando dispatched of an L.A. team that has the best record in the NBA. 104-101 the final. It’s proper justice for an Orlando squad that didn’t deserve such misery coming into the contest. The Magic are now 2-0 in Staples Center this season as they’ve improved their overall record to 13-23. Just like against the Lakers, Arron Afflalo posted 30 points. Arron added a career-high tying 7 assists.
Of course 40-year-old Grant Hill’s first game of the season came against the Magic. Oddly enough, G-Hill’s struggles on the court in the 4th period kept Orlando alive. The Clippers were only a week and a half removed from a 17-game win streak. After a mediocre beginning, Vinny Del Negro’s team though has the Los Angeles franchise off to its best start ever thanks to a 20-2 stretch entering Saturday afternoon. Those numbers all the more support how amazing and confidence-boosting this win can be for the Magic.
It was tough early on to be optimistic when L.A. jumped out to an effortless 20-7 start that was amplified by a Blake Griffin posterization of JJ Redick. This Clippers team is stacked with weapons and were breezing past an Orlando team that had two full days to prepare. Following the Blake putback jam, Orlando finished the quarter on a 19-11 run as the Magic only trailed by five after the first period of play. Blake had 12 points early as he slaughtered Nicholson and McRoberts. Vucevic managed Blake much better afterwards.
A nifty yet nimble Maurice Harkless baseline drive slam tied the contest at 33-33. Orlando’s bench was something else. Kyle O’Quinn and Ish Smith were hanging tough against a daunting L.A. bench. Offensive success always comes with solid ball movement. Speaking of Ish, his phenomenal tomahawk dunk and then 3-pointer jolted Orlando to once again be tied at 42-42 with 5:49 until halftime. The problem in in the first 24 minutes was the Magic starters couldn’t keep up. Once Chris Paul and Blake Griffin checked back in, the Clippers went on a 13-0 spurt. Orlando didn’t play terribly, it’s just L.A. shot 54.5% that half as the Magic went to their locker room behind eight.
Afflalo was a one-man wrecking crew at the onset of the 3rd period as he urged Orlando to tie the contest once more at 66-66. A 14-point quarter for the man out of Compton that would be negated by Blake already notching 30 points before the period concluded. The Magic were in a seesaw battle all afternoon as the Clippers held an 83-75 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
In typical losing streak fashion, Orlando stuck around and scratched their way to within a few buckets of their opponent before something just clicked with this Magic squad. Afflalo completed a 4-point play and Vucevic drilled a jumper to tie the contest at 95-95 with 3:41 left in the contest. This young roster always has lessons to learn from previous failings, and it finally paid off in a win. Orlando heads to Washington D.C. to take on a Wizards squad on Monday that will have John Wall active.