A depleted LA Clippers team rolls into Orlando tonight to face the Magic in the Amway. Even with stars absent they will be difficult to beat.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 1am here in the UK (8pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
The Clippers sit 2nd in the Western Conference having won last night 109-105 in Miami. Six players reached double figure scoring but no one made 20 points. Nicolas Batum was the team leader with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Reggie Jackson added 16 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Clippers have won 8 of 10 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 4 of 9 at home in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 8-11, whilst LA are 14-5. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Clippers have a 8-2 record, whilst Orlando are worryingly at 2-8.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
A depleted LA Clippers team come into the game as the NBA’s 2nd ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 113.6 points per game. The Clippers are ranked defensively at 13th, conceding only an average of 107.2 points per game.
Offensively they do not play at a fast pace, ranking 27th. They shoot almost 48% from the field and nearly 42% with the 3 ball. Defensively they do not rate highly in any single statistic, being mid or lower table in most categories. However they turn the ball over at a very low rate and commit on average less than 20 fouls per game.
THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS SQUAD
Several times I have referred to “a depleted LA Clippers” so we will start a look at their squad here.
According to ESPN the Clippers have 3 huge absences likely for tonight. Patrick Beverley (8.1 PPG) is day-to-day with a knee injury. Paul George (23.9 PPG) and Kawhi Leonard (25.9 PPG) are both out. Neither flew with the team for this road trip having been ruled out through NBA COVID-19 protocols. Finally, they have Jay Scrubb (0 PPG) out with a foot injury.
Last night Coach Ty Lue started Reggie Jackson (7.7 PPG), Nicolas Batum (10.2 PPG), Luke Kennard (8.7 PPG), Terence Mann (3.1 PPG) and Serge Ibaka (12.2 PPG).
From the bench came Lou Williams (9.4 PPG), Marcus Morris (11.2 PPG), Ivica Zubac (7.9 PPG) and Amir Coffey (2 PPG). Patrick Patterson (3.6 PPG) did not feature in Miami but is an option from the bench also.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
History definitely isn’t with us for this one.
The head-to-head record in the 61 regular season games played sees the Clippers leading 29-32. We haven’t beaten the Clippers in 13 games; last beating them in November 2013!
Last season we were swept in the series 2 and 0. Meeting in LA on the January 16th 2020 Orlando were heavily beaten 95-122, Kawhi going for 32 points. Ten days later the teams met again on a night when basketball was not the focus following the death of Kobe Bryant. That game in the Amway saw the Clippers again win comfortably by 112-97.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY REPORT
There appears to be no change to the injury report as I write. The squad of 17 is now standing at 12 fit players, with three others nearing a return. According to ESPN:
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) missed the Sacramento defeat but is no longer on the injury report so is likely available.
Chum Okeke (3 PPG) is still absent from the rotations with a bone bruise in his left knee. However he is now involved in practice. His absence was estimated by the team on December 31st as being 3-4 weeks.
Michael Carter-Williams (5.1 PPG) is shown as out with a sore foot.
Al-Farouq Aminu is out after recovering from knee surgery. He has been involved in practices.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP TO FACE A DEPLETED LA CLIPPERS
Coach Clifford is likely to remain with the starting unit seen recently.
Expect Cole Anthony (10.8 PPG), Evan Fournier (18.9 PPG), Aaron Gordon (14.1 PPG), James Ennis III (4.8 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (23.6 PPG).
From the bench came Terrence Ross (14.7 PPG), Khem Birch (7.1 PPG), Gary Clark (3.6 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (9.4 PPG), Jordan Bone (4.5 PPG) and Mo Bamba (4 PPG).
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 9th
SEASON RECORD – 8-11
HOME RECORD – 4-5
ROAD RECORD – 4-6
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 3-2
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 7-1
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 5-1
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 24TH OF 30 (106.1)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 21ST OF 30 (111.2)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 15TH OF 30 (110.6)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-7
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 7-4
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 5-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 2-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 3-1
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 6-2
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 8-5
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 1-6
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 84 – GAME DAY 14 NEW YORK KNICKS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
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KEYS TO THE GAME AS THE MAGIC FACE A DEPLETED LA CLIPPERS
As the Magic welcome a depleted LA Clippers into the Amway a win will still be no easy task.
Over the four games going into the Kings defeat Orlando had shot 44.1% from 3 point range. That stat is second best in the league during that period. sadly against Sacramento the efficiency and accuracy was not present, dropping to 38.5% for that game. Orlando will want to see the previous accuracy return.
Nikola Vucevic is the Orlando push now All Star voting has begun and he deserves to be involved. He and Evan Fournier have been strong on the offensive play. Too few others assisted in scoring against Sacramento. Equally against the Kings criticism can be levelled at managing only 8 points from Sacramento’s 15 turnovers.
Orlando can not continue to foul or turnover at the rate they have done recently. Against Sacramento this was a huge negative and saw the Orlando defence regularly scrambling to get set, conceding 23 points from turnovers.
Even without Kawhi and PG13 the Clippers will fight. The players who remain understand their role and have experience to draw on. Against Miami they managed to shoot 41% from the field and an almost identical number from deep. They out-rebounded Miami by 55-45, whilst managing 4 blocks and 11 steals.
Orlando must get a win. The Magic must use this opportunity to gather confidence and get the ailing season back on track. Any lack of focus again and Orlando could easily be looking at another defeat.
WE BELIEVE IN OUR TEAM!
LET’S GO MAGIC!