Many times throughout an NBA season the final score of game does not convey the full story. This ladies and gentleman was one of those times. Orlando defeated the traveling road show that is Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers 101-85 on Tuesday night, but it was the 35-20 4th quarter that made the difference for the Magic men.
Both teams struggled throughout committing 16 turnovers each and the Magic lead the game with a chilly 43% shooting followed by an ice cold 39% from the Clippers. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 22 points and 20 rebounds followed by Jameer Nelson’s 17 points. Baron Davis, not Griffin, was the best Clipper on the floor finishing with 25points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Griffin did double double with 10 points and 12 rebounds but shot just 4-12 from the floor. Griffin’s 10 points tied a season low for the budding superstar.
Orlando trailed 46-42 at the half way mark despite holding Griffin to just 5 points. Orlando lived up to their reputation of being a 2nd half team as they only committed 4 turnovers after half time and outscored LA 59-40 in the final two periods. Much of this win should be credited to the Magic defense and the game plan implemented by Coach Stan Van Gundy. Orlando took away the Clips favorite lob play by rushing back on attempted fast break attempts. Griffin was unable to get anything going as the Magic defenders swarmed him on each touch he had in the post. Not only was he doubled and triple teamed, he was often trapped on the baseline spinning wildly looking for an outlet. Van Gundy also took a chance early in the 3rd quarter when Dwight Howard picked up his 4th foul at the 9:01 mark. “Stan Van” trusted his superstar to stay out of foul trouble and it proved to be the right call as Howard did not pick up another foul the rest of the way.
The Magic turned the game around in the 3rd quarter by staying away from the 3 point line. (Don’t worry things returned to normal in the 4th) They pounded the glass finishing with 17 offensive rebounds and used their length over the diminutive Clipper guards. Ironically although Baron Davis is far from gargantuan every time he left the floor the Magic made a run. Davis was the only Clipper with a positive +/- finishing at +11 for the game. It was so obvious that I had to ask my colleague if Coach Del Negro was trying to loose, as he seemed to take Davis out at the most in-opportune times. Orlando went on a10-0 run in the 3rd with Davis out then he brought the Clips back to within one going into the 4th quarter.
It was 70-70 with a little over 9 minutes left to play when Del Negro brilliantly sat both Griffin and Davis. Orlando ignited and played a two minute stretch that was, well magical. A 12-0 run sparked by J.J. Redick, Gilbert Arenas, and Ryan Anderson 3′s sealed the deal. The Magic shot 5-8 from the three point line in the 4th quarter and by the time Del Negro re-inserted Davis and Griffin it was already all she wrote. See I told you things would return to normal. Orlando got contributions from all over with 6 players reaching double digits and Arenas falling just short at 9. Hopefully the team can play more like they did in the 2nd half for 48 minutes going forward. The surging 76′ers are up next tomorrow night.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com