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Magic Unable to Ward Off Clippers After Leading by Double Digits in First Half

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

The Lead

Franz Wagner posted 21 points and nine assists and Cole Anthony had 19 points, six rebounds and a career-tying-high 11 assists, but the Orlando Magic were unable to stave off the L.A. Clippers after leading by as many as 14 in the first half in a 111-102 loss on Wednesday at Amway Center.

Key Stretch

The Clippers, who trailed by two after three quarters, opened the final frame on a 13-4 run. Most of their scoring came from the free throw line during that stretch. Their lone floor shot was a Luke Kennard triple. The Magic fought back late, cutting a 15-point deficit with a minute and change left to five with 16 seconds remaining before L.A. buried another four free throws to seal their second straight comeback victory.

Key Stats

The Magic did most of their damage in the paint, where they scored 56 points, while the Clippers were scorching hot from beyond the arc, knocking down 15 of their 28 3-point attempts. L.A. also outrebounded Orlando by 11. The Magic didn’t score any second-chance points.

Injury Report

R.J. Hampton (left knee), Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Markelle Fultz (left knee), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), and E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain) were out for Orlando. Kawhi Leonard (knee), Paul George (elbow), Marcus Morris Sr. (personal) and Jason Preston (foot) were unavailable for Los Angeles.

This Day in History

Rarely do all five of a team’s starters score 20-plus points in the same game. It happened on Jan. 26, 1993, however, when all five Magic starters reached the 20-point mark in a victory over the Hawks. Shaquille O’Neal recorded 26 points, Tom Tolbert scored 24, Scott Skiles had 22 and Nick Anderson and Anthony Bowie each finished with 20. Dominique Wilkins led Atlanta with 27 points and Kevin Willis had 23.

Rivals Report

Maybe the Clippers’ nickname should be “The Comeback Kids.” Three of L.A.’s wins this month have come after trailing by more than 20 points, including Tuesday against the Wizards when they erased a 35-point deficit to pull off the second-largest comeback in NBA history. The Clippers are going to be an interesting team to watch at the trade deadline. Do they look to add more depth with the belief Leonard and George return at some point this season? Or do they sell off a veteran or two with the intention of reloading over the summer?

Quote of the Night

“We messed up on our part. Less than two minutes into the (fourth) quarter putting them into the bonus, and that kind of changes our whole game plan because at that point we can’t be as aggressive defensively as we want to. Any time we foul them, any time we bail them out, we give them an opportunity to get two free points…We got to be better. I think that’s probably one of the main things. Then also, that second half they got more aggressive, and I think they just outworked us.” - Anthony

Up Next

The Magic welcome the Pistons to town on Friday at 7 p.m. This will be the third of four Magic versus Pistons games this season. The first two were played in the Motor City. In the first meeting on Oct. 30, Jerami Grant scored 22 points and Kelly Olynyk had 18 to lead the Pistons to the win. Franz Wagner led Orlando with 19 points. In the rematch on Jan. 8, also a Detroit victory, Hamidou Diallo posted 17 points and Saddiq Bey and Trey Lyles each had 16. Gary Harris scored a season-high 28 points for the Magic.