The Los Angeles Clippers (32-17) on the second night of a back-to-back suffered a disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic (16-31) 103-96 at Staples Center. The Clippers started off the game very well scoring the first 12 points of the game. They had a very good first quarter, keeping the Magic to only 13 points. It was all downhill for them after that. The Magic never laid down, played hard the whole night and were able to use gang-rebounding and a defensive mindset to keep the game within striking distance. The Clippers completely let go of the rope in the second half. They stopped doing the things that got them the lead in the first.
The Magic did not have their first lead until about a minute to go in the game. Once they went ahead they didn’t look back. The Clippers had a few chances to tie or take the lead in the waning seconds, but they came up short on some 3 pointers, and had some untimely turnovers. They looked fatigued, both mentally and physically, and being down 4 out of 5 starters caught up with them. Last week the Magic traded away their 3 best players, and basically fielded a team of NBA nobodies last night. Which just further compounds the disappointment. The Clippers had a depleted roster, and only played 8 guys.
Even so the Magic are one of the worst teams in the league, so there is just no excuse for allowing them to outright steal this game out from under them. The Clippers ultimately did not deserve the win last night and hopefully will have learned some valuable lessons after being handed their first defeat of the season on the second night of a back-to-back, and having their win streak snapped at 6. If LAC had won last night it would have been their longest running win streak against any team in franchise history, but the basketball gods were just not having that.
STAR OF THE GAME
Well I can’t very well give the game ball to Kawhi in a horrific loss. Even despite his game high 28 points. No one on the Magic really had a standout game either. The closest player I would say would be former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams because of his play at the end of the game. He made the go-ahead basket, forced some turnovers late, and made some clutch free-throws to seal the W.
He only scored 8 points, but each one of them proved to be crucial to the outcome of the contest. It’s hard to believe this guy was a former Rookie of the Year. I completely forgot he existed, and I think much of the NBA world had as well. I did not even recognize him last night. He currently looks like he should be playing bongos for change on the sidewalk down in Venice. Not leading a bottom feeder team to an upset victory against one of the best clubs in the league.
Injuries. I am tired of harping on this, but it has to be said. If just one more of the starters had played in this game, the Clippers would not have lost. I guess to them as a team, long term success is more crucial than the embarrassment of taking a L against one of the worst teams. Getting healthy does not take away the sting of last night. This loss invalidates the impressive win they got against the Bucks the night before.
The top 6 teams in the Western Conference have all been on winning streaks of their own, so the Clippers could just not afford to be taking losses against crappy teams if the want to at least maintain their place in the standings. I swear to the basketball gods that if and when the team ever gets completely healthy (knock on the hardwood) they better not take another loss period. Let alone one against a crap team.
Chuma Okeke and his team high 18 points to go along with his 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. I had never even heard of this guy until last night, so his 18 came as a complete surprise to me. I heard it was said amongst the team that after trading away everyone of significance last week, they were joking that they all needed to be wearing name-tags at practice. So even their own teammates don’t know who these guys are.
Seeing the starting lineups last night, I was like “huh?” “who”? ” Dang, this going to be a cakewalk”. I thought I was right for the first few minutes of the game. But Okeke was determined to show me and the rest of the world who he is, and did so by leading his team in scoring for a comeback victory. The Clippers let the Magic have this one, but you still have to hand it to Okeke and his team because they played hard the whole night and kept themselves within reach in what should have been a 40 point loss for them.
Vs Denver Nuggets, Thursday April1 at 7:pp PM Pacific
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THE MAGIC CONJURE UP A WIN THE MAGIC CONJURE UP A WIN THE MAGIC CONJURE UP A WIN