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Clippers-Magic Preview (Dec. 12)
Posted By Taylor Smith On Dec 12 2010 @ 2:36 pm In Los Angeles Clippers | No Comments
After getting off to a hot start this season, Superman and the Orlando Magic have come back down to earth a bit.
Orlando has lost four straight games, and will look to snap the skid against Blake Griffin and the 5-19 Clippers Sunday evening at Staples Center.
The Clippers come into the game riding a mini two-game skid of their own, following a pair of one-point losses to the Lakers and Grizzlies.
Turnovers have been the Clippers’ downfall in their recent losses, and their 17.2 giveaways per game is good for 28th out of 30 teams.
L.A. committed a season-high 27 tunovers in the loss to Memphis Saturday afternoon.
The Clippers struggled to contain the Grizzlies’ frontcourt tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in that game, so it would only make sense to expect more of the same with Howard coming up next.
Howard is averaging a team-high 21.5 points per game this season on 57 percent shooting, and is also grabbing 12.2 rebounds and blocking 2.4 shots per.
Griffin and Howard are two of just three players in the league averaging at least 20 points and 11 rebounds per game this season.
Considering Griffin’s size and ability, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy seems likely to start the 6’8″ Brandon Bass over 6’6″ Quentin Richardson at forward.
Bass scored 18 points and tallied eight rebounds in Orlando’s last game Friday in Utah. He started in order to help the Magic match up better with the Jazz frontline of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Orlando is at its best when Howard is able to attract enough defenders to get his teammates open looks at three-pointers. With the Clippers ranking last in the league in terms of opponent three-point field goal percentage, they’ll have to pick their poison wisely.
The Clippers’ starting backcourt tandem of Eric Bledsoe and Eric Gordon have struggled in a major way with turnovers in recent games, so veteran Baron Davis should see his playing time begin to increase.
Davis finally appears to be rounding into form, after having missed more than half of the Clippers’ games with a knee injury. If Bledsoe continues to scuffle as the starter, don’t be surprised to see Davis reinserted into the starting lineup in the near future.
Los Angeles will look to avoid being the first team in the league to reach 20 losses this season.
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