Bieber Fever hit Staples on Monday when the Clippers scored 127 points against Minnesota, and the stars came out again on Wednesday for the Clippers when they met the Orlando Magic here in the Staples Center. Travis Barker, the drummer for Blink-182, met with the team after the game in the locker room, with his kid.
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The Magic have been struggling this year; they had only seven wins before Wednesday’s game, but they did beat a couple of teams with winning records, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns, so there was that chance they could pull of an upset against the Clippers.
But Orlando came into Staples at a time when the Clippers have started to perform their best as a team. J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes have found their shooting grooves, and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are as good as they’ve ever been. So beating the L.A. Clippers right now was a steep climb for a team like Orlando.
This game went the way most people expected: the Clippers coasting through the fourth quarter to another win, their sixth in a row. The Orlando Magic just doesn’t have the pieces to compete with teams like L.A.
Before the game Orlando head coach Jacque Vaughn said that their defense would be the key to winning against the Clippers. But they couldn’t contain L.A. From the opening jump the Clippers established a 15-point lead in the first five minutes of the first quarter.
After a great first quarter in which the Clippers scored 31 points and held the Magic to 23, L.A. lost their focus in the second quarter and turned the ball over so often Orlando pulled within three points. But before the half was over the Clippers had a solid 13-point lead.
The Clippers continued their rout in the second half, pulling ahead by 22 points at the end of the third quarter and then finished the game 28 points ahead; the final score being 114 – 86.
This is different than the Clippers first nine games of the season. One part of their game that has improved is rebounding at both ends of the court. The Clippers’ second unit is playing well too. The team doesn’t lose ground when the starters sit to take a rest. For Wednesday’s game the first unit sat as their bench finished the game.
Add that to the improve shooting of J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes and the Clippers are looking like Championship contenders again. After the game Chris Paul said, “J.J. running off screens is a play in itself, ” and, “Last year J.J. was the leading scorer for us in the first quarter every game and it just opens up the court for us that much.”
After the game DeAndre Jordan said that the road trip and losing to the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls helped them gain their focus so they can close out a team when they are leading. They have been able to do that these last two games, but the season is still young and they have four more months of the regular season to play. It’s hard to maintain a high level for long stretches.
Orlando Magic guard Willie Green was with L.A. last season and after Wednesday’s game said of the Clippers, “For four quarters pretty much they demonstrated why they are one of the elite teams.”
J.J. Redick finished the night with 20 points and Matt Barnes had 17. Blake Griffin finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists and Chris Paul had a great night with 19 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds.
All the Clippers got to touch the ball and get some points, including rookie C.J. Wilcox, who scored the first basket of his NBA career with just over 2 minutes left in the game.
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The Clippers next game is Saturday, here in the Staples Center when the New Orleans Pelicans come to try and end L.A.’s winning streak. New Orleans is 8-8 on the season and they lost the Golden State Warriors last night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA., 112-85. It won’t get any easier for the Pelicans in Staples.
(All photos by Claudia Gestro except where otherwise noted)
Claudia is of Peruvian and Italian descent, having been born in a small town, in the North of Peru, South America. She was raised by her grandmother from an early age, living in poverty until Claudia’s mother brought her to America. She landed in Miami, FL and started her new life, playing high school basketball and eventually becoming a United States citizen. Claudia completed her education at Florida International University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and became a model to supplement her income. Since graduating from FIU Claudia has worked with many of the Spanish Language broadcasting companies, including Telemundo, Univision and most recently Spanish Language channels on SiriusXM satellite radio and PasTV Deportes in Venezuela.She encourages you to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her content appears here under a shared content agreement with her Spanish television clients.