Notebook: Magic 104, Clippers 101

Posted Jan 12, 2013 7:38 PM

By Dan Arritt, For

THE FACTS: The Magic were due to come up on the better end of a close game. The Clippers were bound to see their home-winning streak end at some point. Both scenarios came to fruition Saturday afternoon at Staples Center, as visiting Orlando (13-23) overcame a nine-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to beat the Clippers 104-101, ending a 10-game losing streak in which six of its losses came by four points or less. L.A. (28-9), meanwhile, had its franchise best, 13 game home-winning streak snapped.

QUOTABLE: "Seven of our last 10 games have been one-possession games at one point or another in the last minute, and we just haven't had the ball bounce our way. The law of averages worked out [today]."

--Orlando guard J.J. Redick

THE STAT: The Magic trailed by as many as 13 points before mounting their comeback. Orlando has rallied back from a double-digit deficit in six of its 13 victories.

TURNING POINT: Orlando never led until Redick set his feet and nailed a 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining, giving the Magic a 102-99 lead. Chris Paul, who had collided with Redick on the previous possession leaving him writhing in pain on the court, remained in the game and sank a pull up 15-footer to draw the Clippers within one with 33 seconds remaining. Lamar Odom then blocked Jameer Nelson's short jumper, leading to a fast break for the Clippers. Redick drew a charge on Jamal Crawford, however, giving Orlando the ball with 12 seconds left. L.A. didn't immediately foul Orlando on the ensuing in-bounds pass and then left 7-foot center Nikola Vucevic alone in the key. He took a pass from Josh McRoberts and slammed it through the rim with 8.1 seconds left for a 104-101 lead. The Clippers had a final opportunity to tie the score, but Crawford's 3-pointer at the buzzer clanked off the rim.

QUOTABLE II: "I saw Crawford and [Matt] Barnes were 2-on-1 on my side, so I decided to just protect the rim. If [Crawford] kicked it out to Barnes, either me or somebody else would have had to close late. He didn't give the ball up, he just kind of ran right through me."

--J.J. Redick

HOT: Orlando guard Arron Afflalo returned home to Southern California and matched his season high with 30 points. The former UCLA star shot 10-for-19 from the floor while producing the fifth 30-point game of his six-year career. He made all three of his 3-point attempts while also matching his season high with seven rebounds and his career high with seven assists. Blake Griffin also matched his season high with 30 points for the Clippers, shooting 15-for-22, but he didn't take a shot in the fourth quarter after scoring 14 in the third.

NOT: Even before committing the momentum-swinging charge in the final minute and missing the game-tying 3-pointer, Crawford looked off his game. The team's third-leading scorer coming in (16.3) shot 4-for-12 from the floor and had just one assist for the second consecutive game. So far this month, he's shooting 37.1 percent from the floor and has more turnovers (nine) than assists (seven). Crawford missed two games this month with a sore left foot, so he could still be feeling some discomfort.

GOOD MOVE: Orlando back-up point guard Ish Smith must have seen some late-night highlight clips of the Clippers' high-flying acts this season. Maybe he was just trying to impress Paul, another Wake Forest grad, but either way the 6-footer threw down a power dunk midway through the second quarter that left the rim shaking. Smith was fouled hard on the play by Eric Bledsoe and slammed to the floor. He got up, however, and then shot an air ball on the ensuing free throw.

BAD MOVE: Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro picked an odd time to put Grant Hill in the game for his long-awaited debut. Hill, who had been out since the preseason with a bone bruise in his right knee, entered the game at the start of the fourth quarter, when the Clippers were leading by nine. Playing with the established reserve corps of Crawford, Odom, Bledsoe and Barnes, Hill's presence seemed to throw them all out of whack. The Clippers missed their first seven field-goal attempts in the fourth, including three by Hill, opening the door for the Magic to crawl back. Still, the Clippers led by eight points with just under five minutes to play and Paul and Co. could not finish them off.

QUOTABLE III: "It's good to get back out there and test your body. The thing is, you can't get overly frustrated, but you also can't be satisfied."

--Grant Hill

NOTABLE: Paul finished with 10 points and had a season-high 16 assists for the second consecutive game. Barnes, Willie Green and DeAndre Jordan also finished with 10 points. ... Orlando's victory leaves only the Lakers without a win in 2013. ... Vucevic, who played collegiately at USC, finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds for his sixth consecutive double-double

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Monday @ Memphis, Tuesday @ Houston, Thursday @ Minnesota. For the Magic, Monday @ Washington, Wednesday vs. Indiana, Friday vs. Charlotte.