The Clippers tightened up on defense Monday night, allowing the
Orlando Magic to hit just one of their first 12 shots and routing
the visitors 101-81 at Staples Center.
The Magic shot just 35.7 percent in the game and had eight of their
shots blocked by Los Angeles center DeAndre Jordan.
"They got beat pretty bad the game before, so they came out with an
extreme sense of urgency," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said of the
Clippers' 20-3 runaway to start the game. "They came down the court
pretty fast and had great ball movement.
"I don't know if it stunned us, but overall, their pace was great
and we were playing from behind all night."
On Saturday, the Clippers played their first game without Paul (out
six weeks with a shoulder injury), and they were on the other end of
a rout in San Antonio. The Spurs jumped out to a 70-35 halftime lead
and won 116-92. It was the second consecutive game in which the
Clippers allowed 70 first-half points and the team's fourth
consecutive sub-par defensive game, by coach Doc Rivers' estimation.
Los Angeles reversed that trend immediately Monday.
"The last two games we came out and tried to score early instead of
trying to get stops," said Jordan, who added 14 points and 17
rebounds. "I think when we focus on getting stops, we can get out
and run and get some easy shots.
"We stayed on it defensively tonight."
Rivers said, "DJ (Jordan) looked like that guy from Boston again (a
reference to Hall of Famer Bill Russell). I keep saying that if
there is a better defensive player in the league, I don't know where
he is at. He was phenomenal tonight."
The Magic hit just one shot in the first seven minutes of the game
(a 3-pointer by point guard Jameer Nelson in the first minute of
play) and 12 of 41 (29.3 percent) on their way to trailing 60-34 at
halftime. Their only stretches with offensive life were keyed by
rookie guard Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo scored seven points during a 12-0 Magic run midway through
the second quarter and sparked another 16-0 run in the second half
on his way to a 22-point night. But even with those bursts, the
Magic never got closer than 14 points after the Clippers' initial
"You couldn't ask for a better game from guys," said Clippers
forward Blake Griffin, whose game was blunted by foul trouble,
limiting him to 16 points. "Guys were hitting shots. Guys were
defending. Guys were getting steals. We had guys running off the
"It's good to have a game like that after we had such a poor first
half in San Antonio."
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Making his second start at point guard in place of Paul,
Darren Collison was flawless in orchestrating the first-half
runaway. Collison hit his first eight shots and had 19 of his
team-high 21 points by halftime. The veteran backup had four
assists in the first half as well, but he wasn't alone.
Excellent ball movement against the overmatched Magic led to
assists on 16 of the Clippers' first 17 field goals and 20 of
their 22 in the first half.
"We worked on it yesterday pretty hard, just moving the ball,"
Rivers said of the passing that led to 30 assists in the game,
topped by Jamal Crawford's eight. "I thought the biggest
difference in DC (Collison) tonight was he had a couple shot
opportunities where he gave it up to a teammate.
"When a point guard does that, it really makes your team whole.
I thought he was phenomenal in that."
The Magic got center Nikola Vucevic back in their starting
lineup Monday after the 7-footer missed two games with an ankle
injury. However, Vucevic hit just one of his seven shots and
left the game after taking a hard fall in the third quarter.
After the game, Vaughn said Vucevic was diagnosed with a
concussion and would be out indefinitely.
"He'll go through the concussion protocol, and we'll leave it in
the doctor's hands," Vaughn said.
Vucevic bit on a pump fake by Griffin and went up to block the
shot. He came down on Griffin's back, tumbling awkwardly and
landing hard on the court. Vucevic finished with two points and
eight rebounds in 19 minutes.
The Magic were led in scoring by Oladipo and forward Maurice
Harkless, who had 22 points each.
NOTES: Clippers G Chris Paul underwent an MRI on his injured
right shoulder Sunday. It revealed a Grade 3 — the most severe
category — AC joint separation. He is expected to miss up to
six weeks but will not need surgery. "I'm cool," Paul said
Monday. "It's one of those situations where it could have been
worse. I woke up yesterday and I was done feeling sorry for
myself." ... Clippers coach Doc Rivers confirmed that the team
is considering signing former Magic F Hedo Turkoglu, a
34-year-old veteran who was waived by the Magic on Friday. "I
just like him as a player," Rivers said. "He's out there so we
should take a look. He can shoot. He can play the 3 or 4. It's a
position we can use in some ways. Yeah, we're looking." ... The
Clippers signed G Darius Morris before the game, and he scored
one point in eight minutes.
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