J.J. Redick was constant movement, and Matt Barnes was visibly tired chasing him around. Somehow the Magic had to know that would play a role in deciding this one.
So when Redick gave pump fake to Barnes after coming around a screen at the top of the key, Barnes went flying, knowing he had to worry about the sharp shooter. Redick clamly dribbled to the side and pulled up for a 3-pointer.
The execution was brilliant and Redick finished it by draining the 3-pointer and giving Orlando a 3-point lead with less than a minute to play in the game. Chris Paul made a floater on the next possession, then it was Redick's turn again to feel the pressure.
The Clippers opted to trap Redick off the inbound instead of foul him and he found Josh McRoberts, an obvious candidate for Los Angeles to send to the line. The Clippers scrambled back to try and foul him but McRoberts found Nikola Vucevic underneath the basket all alone. His dunk restored the 3-point lead.
Los Angeles could not get the ball to any of its shooters and Blake Griffin fed an awkward pass to Jamal Crawford. His 3-pointer was no good, providing a refreshing change for the Magic against Crawford and a refreshing final result. Orlando snapped its 10-game losing streak with a 104-101 victory at Staples Center, sweeping the L.A. teams in Los Angeles for the first time since 2009.
Redick scored 21 points, including 10 in the final quarter as the Magic had to erase an eight-point deficit entering the quarter. Redick also took a charge late in the game after Jameer Nelson had his shot blocked, leading to the Magic's inbound that eventually found Vucevic.
Orlando was playing uphill from the very beginning but always found a way to battle back.
The Clippers looked like they were ready to blow the doors open with their fast break and transition play. Exactly what Orlando did not want to happen. The Magic committed five turnovers in the first quarter and the Clippers got out on the run. There was nothing the Magic could do to stop this onslaught.
Except stop the turnovers.
And the Magic did that for much of the game. They ended up with 13 turnovers, but they had much fewer live-ball turnovers, forcing the Clippers to take the ball from out of bounds and allowing Orlando to get its defense set. Except for Blake Griffin, who scored 30 points and showed a strong variety of post moves, the Clippers were not nearly as efficient in the half court.
The Magic's bench led the first comeback, emphatically highlights by Ish Smith's breakaway slam. Arron Afflalo led the second one in scoring 21 of his 30 points in the second half and taking the ball aggressively off the dribble and getting to the basket. He tied a career high with seven assists in the game too, doing everything for the Magic. He carried the Magic throughout the second half and his strong play made sure the Clippers never got too far away.
Orlando though has had its struggles with closing games out and that was where the focus began to turn as Orlando kept the game close. This time, the Magic were the ones executing on both ends of the floor.
Outside of Chris Paul's floater, neither Paul nor Griffin were much involved in the offense down the stretch. Instead it was Matt Barnes missing a 3-pointer and Jamal Crawford missing a jumper and Lamar Odom missing a jumper in L.A.'s final possessions. The Magic, meanwhile, got the ball to Afflalo who went to the basket like he had all game. They found ways to get J.J. Redick open for crucial shots again and again.
The Magic played better down the stretch and this time had the answers and the baskets. And more importantly the stops.
It was a much deserved win for Orlando after all the heartache these past three weeks.