By John Denton
January 12, 2013
Much like the Magic, Los Angeles native Arron Afflalo shook off a slow start and finished with 30 points. It was the second time this season in Los Angeles that Afflalo scored 30 points, this time by making 10 of 19 shots, all three of his 3-pointers and seven of eight free throws. He added seven rebounds and seven assists in one of the best games of his career.
``When you are used to winning and you go through a losing streak like we did, the worst thing is to become accustomed to (the losing),’’ said Afflalo, who also shined defensively down the stretch against Chris Paul (10 points, 16 assists and four steals). ``It’s just good for us to get that feeling of winning again.’’
Redick, who has 29- and 17-point games on this trip, poured in 21 points and four 3-pointers, while center Nikola Vucevic added 18 points and 15 rebounds. Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson chipped in 11 points, nine assists and two steals.
Redick, who had tied the game at 99-all with 1:48 to play with a streaking layup, drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 42 seconds left to give the Magic their first lead of the day. Redick impressively used his pump fake to set up Clippers forward Matt Barnes and create space for the dagger of a shot.
``It was good patience by our team,’’ Redick said. ``The shot that I got was basically our third option on that play. That’s a testament to Jacque drawing something up because teams take away options. He got us a shot because he had drawn up something that was continuous.
``I got a little bit of separation (with the fake) and that’s a shot coming toward the top of the key that I’m comfortable shooting,’’ Redick continued. ``I knew I had some space to get my shot off. I felt like he was going to bite on (the fake) and he did.’’
After the Clippers (28-9) had gotten to within one point of the lead, it was Redick who made another spectacular play – this time on the defensive end of the floor. Redick stepped in front of Jamal Crawford for a charge, something the Magic had discussed doing more of the day before during practice at UCLA.
``I saw Crawford and Barnes 2-on-1 on my side and I just decided to protect the rim,’’ Redick said. ``If he would have kicked it out to Barnes either me or someone would have had to close late, but he didn’t give ball up and he just kind of ran right through me.’’
The Magic end their nine-day, four-day road trip on Monday in Washington against the Wizards. The team flew from Los Angeles to Washington after Saturday’s game and will hold a practice on Sunday in the nation’s capitol.
Orlando made several spirited runs to get within one point of the lead three different times in the third quarter, riding the play of Afflalo. The Magic shooting guard missed six of his first eight shots back in his hometown, but he responded with 15 points in the third quarter alone. He drilled two 3-pointers and got open for three other shots thanks to five assists in the period by Nelson.
But the Magic were kept at bay because of the dominance inside against Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson. Griffin made seven of his eight shots just after halftime, battering Orlando inside for 14 third quarter points. That gave Griffin 30 points and four highlight-worthy dunks by the start of the fourth quarter and the Clipped led 83-75.
The Magic trailed 57-49 at the half, and there were a couple of ways they could have viewed that score at the break. Orlando had to withstand an early emotional punch in which Los Angeles stormed to an early 13-point lead in the first quarter. But the Magic played well in the middle of the first half, fighting back with a some tremendous ball movement to get the game tied at 42-all. But another 13-0 burst by the Clippers gave them their eight-point edge at halftime.
In Los Angeles’ fast start, Griffin had 12 points in the first quarter, including a thunderous alley-oop dunk over Redick in transition.
But Vucevic and Ish Smith brought the Magic back with some stellar play early on. Vucevic nearly had his 18th double-double by halftime with 11 points and eight boards in the first 24 minutes. And Smith, who had seven points and two assists in the first half, had a nice sequence with a dazzling dunk in transition as he was knocked to the floor and late a between-the-legs pass that resulted in a jump shot for Nicholson.
When the win was complete, Vaughn said he couldn’t be prouder of how his team kept fighting throughout the losing streak and never once pointed fingers at one another. Vaughn said the when the Magic cut down on turnovers, executed sets better and got key defensive stops they finally got over the hump and found a way to win.
``I don’t think this changes us personality-wise because we were going to continue to persevere,’’ Vaughn said. ``That’s what we’re all about and that’s what we’ve been talking about. It feels good because we’ve put in the work and we deserve this win.’’
ORLANDOMAGIC.COM FEATURES: Redick Talks Career Future | Vucevic Making Strong Case to Play in Rising Stars Challenge
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
Follow John Denton on Twitter here