The LA Clippers used a third quarter spurt to roll to a 118-102 win against the visiting Orlando Magic.


Clippers fans awoke this morning to some earth-shattering news. After months of rumors, James Harden was finally a Clipper. Although it cost the Clippers nearly all of their forward depth.

While Harden and P.J. Tucker were both in attendance on Tuesday against the Magic, neither of them dressed and neither of them were able to sit on the bench as the trade is not yet official. Also, neither head coach Tyronn Lue nor any players were able to speak on the trade yet.

In any case, the Clippers started the game as if they had a post-trade hangover. They mustered only 13 points in the first quarter. The second quarter wasn’t much better as they fell behind almost by double-digits and entered halftime having played an abysmal half.

Something changed at the half though because the Clippers came out with far more energy and intensity in the third quarter. It was almost like a flashback to the 2019 Oklahoma City Thunder days as Paul George and Russell Westbrook unleashed a fury on the Magic.

Westbrook had 16 points in the third quarter and George added 14 as the Clippers saw their lead extend to double digits in the period. This was the type of game that the Clippers might have lost last season. But Lue credited the defense for keeping them within striking distance until they were able to get rolling offensively.

“The only thing that saved us was our defense. We played really good defense, I think we gave up only one offensive rebound by halftime,” Lue said. “That’s something we’ve been talking about since training camp is to rebound the basketball better.”

The Magic looked like a team on the second end of a back to back and like the young, inexperienced team that they are and the Clippers took full advantage.

While the season is only four games old, George’s offensive efficiency has been a recurring theme. He finished with a game-high 27 points on 8-17 shooting from the field and 6-9 from the three-point line.

His effectiveness is something that Lue attributed to health and the fact that Westbrook has allowed him to take on more of an off-ball role.

“Healthy, I think healthy, a clear mind and then just playing. I think Russ helps that as well, he doesn’t have to handle the ball as much like he has in the past. So he can play off the ball more and get more catch and shoot threes,” Lue said. “Last six minutes of the game we can put him in pick and rolls and let him attack downhill and do all the different things he can do. He’s just in a good place right now.”

The Clippers have their own set of a back to back Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers and the major question is, will George and Kawhi Leonard play? It’s a question that Lue himself was curious about.

“I don’t know, that’s a good question,” Lue remarked. “I think I better ask that question too.”


-With the Clippers forward depth decimated by the James Harden trade, rookie Kobe Brown got extended minutes against the Magic and provided a quality boost. There were times when he looked a little bit lost on the defensive end, but he moved well offensively and finished with seven points on 3-4 shooting. Obviously P.J. Tucker will help with forward depth but even so, Brown might be on track to play a little bit more than what was initially expected of him at the start of the season. In his first real test of the year, he passed.

David Yapkowitz

David Yapkowitz

David is in his sixth season as credentialed media at Los Angeles Clippers games and second season covering the team for 213 Hoops. He also covers the game at the college and high school levels. When his professional basketball dreams did not materialize, he turned to the next best thing, writing about it.

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