It was a matchup of the walking wounded, with the Los Angeles Clippers playing without Chris Paul (bruised right kneecap), Blake Griffin (strained hamstring) and Jamal Crawford (sore right shoulder) and the Orlando Magic missing Arron Afflalo (strained calf), J.J. Redick (sore right shoulder) and Glen Davis (broken left foot). In the end, the Clippers got the better of the Magic, beating them 86-76 on Wednesday night at the Amway Center.
"I think the thing that really killed us tonight was when we got stops and they got those offensive rebounds and loose balls," Magic point guard Jameer Nelson said. "That kind of deflates you a little bit. It's just something that we always talk about, but tonight we just didn't come up with enough of them."
Eric Bledsoe stepped up to lead Los Angeles (35-16), notching 27 points, six rebounds and six steals, while DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 14 rebounds, Ryan Hollins had 13 points and eight rebounds and Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes had eight points apiece, with Odom adding six steals.
Nelson returned to lead Orlando (14-35) after missing two games with a bruised forearm, tallying 18 points, while Nikola Vucevic finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, Kyle O'Quinn scored 10 points and pulled down nine boards and Ish Smith recorded nine points.
The Clippers made 33 of 82 (40.2%) shots from the field compared to 30 of 87 (34.5%) for the Magic and outshot the hosts 6 of 18 (33.3%) to 6 of 20 (30.0%) from long range. Despite being outrebounded 50-48 and outscored 44-36 in the paint, Los Angeles registered 16 steals compared to six for Orlando. In addition, the visitors turned the ball over 14 times compared to 18 turnovers for the Magic.
After being tied at 17-all at the end of the first quarter, Orlando surged ahead 42-40 at halftime, but the Clippers outscored the Magic 24-13 in the third quarter and 22-21 in the fourth.
"When you're working with different combinations, asking guys to do more than we've asked them in the past, it's a tough adjustment to do that on a game-to-game basis," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "So we're going to have to deal with it and learn from it, and get better."
Orlando is at Cleveland on Friday at 7:30 pm on FS Florida.
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