The Orlando Magic season continues its topsy tourvy ride through the land of uncertainty. After losing 4 straight games a little over a week ago the world of Disneynearly came to an end. A Jameer Nelson minor concussion, a Glen Davis 2 game suspension, and a Dwight Howard “call out” of his teammates later and the Magic came into their match up with the Los Angeles Clippers winners of 3 straight games.
Unfortunately for the Magic they were unable to figure out the Clippers vaunted pick and roll attack and lost an overtime thriller 107-102. Chris Paul carried the Clippers home with a 29 point, 8 assist, and 7 rebound performance. Dwight Howard tallied another monster line of 33 points and 14 rebounds but had just 2 points combined in the 4th quarter and overtime period. Coach Van Gundy commented after the game and took the blame “I could not come up with an answer on their pick and rolls. We went zone, which ended up being an extremely bad move. So defensively I didn’t do anything, and at the offensive end in the overtime I didn’t do a good job in getting us good shots.”
Nelson made his return this evening and it seemed to inspire the Magic as they jumped out to 30-21 first quarter lead. He finished the game with 15 points and 12 assists. Dwight Howard set the tone early with 13 first quarter points backed up by Jason Richardson who added 12 in the quarter.
The 2nd quarter was not nearly as inspiring. The Clippers slowed the pace as they realized Howard had it going and were able to limit the Magic to just 17 points in the period. As a result L.A. pulled to within 5 at half time trailing 47-42.
Orlando’s struggles continued in the 3rd quarter scoring just 15 points with 10 of those coming from Howard. Chris Paul and Caron Butler combined for 16 in the quarter giving the Clippers a 65-62 lead at the end of three quarters.
As tends to be the case in most NBA games the contest took form in the 4th quarter. The Clippers took a 75-66 lead to begin the 4th and then the All-Star Saturday night 3 point contest broke out. Quentin Richardson, Chris Paul, J.J. Reddick, and Chauncey Billups starting firing at will for their respective teams from the arc.
Then the game became Nelson vs. Paul as they took turns beating each other on multiple drives. The one on one match ended when Ryan Anderson banged a corner 3 to tie the game at 89-89 with 2:41 remaining.
Richardson who had been quiet since his first quarter eruption glided to the basket on a finger roll with 1:01 remaining and was fouled for a 3pt play to give the Magic a lead of 94-93. J. Rich went from potential hero to goat when he turned the ball overr to Caron Butler forcing Nelson to foul Griffin with 22.5 left in the game. Griffin could only manage one of two and the game was tied at 94-94 with the Magic having possession with 21.2 seconds. Nelson back rimmed a fade away jumper then Mo Williams missed a jumper sending the game into overtime.
In overtime Glen Davis played terrific defense on Griffin and caused two Clipper turnovers that lead to 6 Orlando points on 3′s from Nelson and Reddick. The Magic seemingly had control of the game with a 100-96 lead.
Butler who hoisted up 11 treys on the evening hit a big one to put the Clippers back up 101-100 before Paul nailed a jumper over Howard to give the Clippers a 103-100 lead with 1:16 remaining. That was essentially the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Both teams had their chances and it was an unfortunate finish for the Clippers even with the win. During the “3 point shooting contest” Billups pumped faked on a shot and came down awkwardly after the release. It turns out Billups may have torn his achilles which could potentially be season ending.
For Orlando they get to face the rival Miami Heat on Wednesday.
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