Down four starters and playing an eight-man rotation, the L.A. Clippers lost control of their lead with 1:10 remaining, running out of gas to the Orlando Magic 103-96. Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 28 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while Ivica Zubac tied a career-high in tallying his 10th double-double of the season. Ultimately, Orlando finished strong with five players in double-figures, spearheaded by rookie Chuma Okeke’s 18 points. Read on for our full Clippers vs. Magic game recap.
Despite losing two of their main scorers since the release of our preview, the Clippers (32-17) came out of the gates hot with two threes from Luke Kennard. Making four of their first five shots while Orlando (16-31) missed their first three looks, L.A. sprinted out to a 10-0 lead. As the makings of a blowout began to show, the Clippers pumped the brakes on themselves a bit, turning the ball over five times in the period. With balanced scoring from the starters and timely baskets from Amir Coffey and Patrick Patterson off the bench, the Clippers closed the first quarter ahead 26-13.
The second quarter was about dead even as Leonard and Reggie Jackson’s combined 15 points were nearly matched by Terrence Ross and Wendell Carter Jr.’s 13. Although the Magic shot a pedestrian 37.5% from the field, they didn’t turnover the ball and decelerated the Clippers to 2 of 7 shooting from deep. After leading by what turned out to be the largest lead of the game at 16, L.A. ended the first half up 51-37 with more work to do.
Burdened by seven more turnovers and 6-for-22 3-point shooting the rest of the way, the Clippers lost the second half 45-66.
In the opening four minutes of the third, empty possessions by the Clippers allowed the Magic to take the momentum while out in transition. With Orlando head coach Steve Clifford’s squad amping up the defensive intensity, the Magic went on a 10-0 run to cut their deficit to five. As the effort and energy continued to be dominated by the visitors, the Clippers conceded the third up 73-70.
The game remained within single digits the rest of the way. A Zubac putback, a Kennard three, and a Leonard and-1 were each answered seemingly right away by the Magic. Rather than garbage time minutes, the Clippers entered their first clutch time minutes of the homestand. Clinging onto a 7-point lead with 2:52 left, Zubac’s fifth foul became the turning point where the Magic didn’t look back. With a dunk, three layups and three free throws fueling an 11-0 Orlando run, the Clippers fell behind by four with 53.7 left and couldn’t recover.
Clippers vs. Magic Game Notes
- A Tale of Two Halves Defensively: In the opening frame, L.A. held Orlando to 13 points on 27.3% shooting, which tied for the fewest amount of points the Clippers allowed in a quarter this season. The Clippers went on to hold the Magic to a mere 37 points in the opening two quarters, which is the fewest amount of points allowed in a first half this season. In the third and fourth, however, the Magic went on to score 33 apiece.
- Zero Days of Rest Record Blemished: With Tuesday’s loss, the Clippers fell to 8-1 on the season in the backend of back-to-backs.
- Next Up: The Clippers will host the Denver Nuggets at STAPLES Center for their second matchup of the regular season Thursday, Apr. 1 at 7 p.m.
- Goodbye, FOX Sports Prime Ticket: Tonight’s local TV Clippers broadcast was its last run under the traditional moniker as the channel rebrands to Bally Sports SoCal.
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