Story of the Game: Orlando's Field Goal Percentage
While the game was defined by sloppy play from both teams (turnovers and poor shooting), the Magic's atrocious shooting percentage, 30-of-87 (34.5%) from the field and 6-of-20 (30%) from three, turned out to be their undoing.
Clunkers from combo guard E'Twaun Moore (3-16, 1-6 from three), small forward Moe Harkless (2-11, 0-2 from three), center Nikola Vucevic (7-21) and point guard Jameer Nelson (who started 6-11, 3-7 from three for 18 points in the first half but missed all five of his shots in the second half for a final count of 6-16, 3-9 from three) ruined any chance Orlando had of winning the game.
Turning Point: The Third Quarter
After Vucevic made a shot to put the Magic up 46-44 with 9:41 left in the third, the Clippers went on a 10-0 run and lead for the remainder of the game.
Who Stood Out: Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan
While Bledsoe's final shooting numbers weren't particularly impressive (9-21, 2-4 from three, 7-10 on free throws), the electrifying point guard showed off his athleticism, stuffed the stat sheet and paved the way for the Clippers' win. Center DeAndre Jordan was another key performer for the Clippers, finishing with 13 points (6-11, 1-3 free throws), 14 rebounds and several SportsCenter-worthy dunks.
What to take from the game:
Both teams were missing key players (All-NBA point guard Chris Paul, All-Star Blake Griffin and sixth man Jamal Crawford for the Clippers, and shooting guard Arron Afflalo, shooting guard J.J. Redick and power forward Glen Davis for the Magic), and made this a game that could have gone either way.
But the Magic couldn't take advantage of Nelson's return from injury (or his sizzling first half) and lost their 11th straight game. The Magic's current record stands at 14-35, and the team has gone 2-22 since Dec. 21, with two separate 10-game losing streaks (including the current 11-game losing streak) during their recent run of futility.
Most Valuable Player: Eric Bledsoe
As previously mentioned, Bledsoe was the driving force behind the Clippers' victory, finishing with 27 points, six rebounds, three assists, six steals, three blocks and four turnovers.
Least Valuable Player: E'Twaun Moore
While Vucevic missed more shots than Moore, Moore's shot selection was sub-par at best, had far too many shots fall short (including several air-balls) and couldn't make up for his poor shooting with his passing. Moore's final stat line was seven points, three rebounds, five assists, one steal and five turnovers.
Next Game: at Cleveland (15-34), on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
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