Clippers 101, Magic 81
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers tightened up on defense Monday night, allowing the Orlando Magic to hit just one of their first 12 shots and routing the visitors 101-81 at Staples Center.
The Magic shot just 35.7 percent in the game and had eight of their shots blocked by DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers center added 14 points and 17 rebounds.
On Saturday, in their first game without injured point guard Chris Paul, the Clippers were on the other end of a rout. The San Antonio Spurs jumped out to a 70-35 halftime lead and won 116-92. It was the second consecutive game in which the Clippers allowed 70 first-half points and the fourth consecutive sub-par defensive game by coach Doc Rivers' estimation.
Los Angeles reversed that trend immediately Monday.
The Magic hit just one shot in the first seven minutes of the game (a 3-pointer by guard Jameer Nelson in the first minute of play) and 12 of 41 (29.3 percent) on their way to trailing 60-34 at halftime. Their only stretches with offensive life were keyed by rookie guard Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo scored seven points during a 12-0 Magic run midway through the second quarter and sparked another 16-0 run in the second half on his way to a 22-point night. But even with those bursts, the Magic never got closer than 14 points after the Clippers' initial surge.
Making his second start at point guard in place of Paul, Darren Collison was flawless in orchestrating the first-half runaway. Collison hit his first eight shots and had 19 of his team-high 21 points by halftime.
The veteran backup had four assists in the first half as well, but he wasn't alone. The Clippers' excellent ball movement against the overmatched Magic led to assists on 16 of their first 17 field goals and 20 of their 22 in the first half.
The Magic got center Nikola Vucevic back in their starting lineup Monday after the 7-footer missed two games with an ankle injury. However, Vucevic hit just one of his seven shots and left the game after taking a hard fall in the third quarter.
Vucevic bit on a pump fake by Clippers forward Blake Griffin and went up to block the shot. He came down on Griffin's back, tumbling awkwardly and landing hard on the court.
In 19 minutes, Vucevic produced two points and eight rebounds.
NOTES: Clippers G Chris Paul underwent an MRI on his injured right shoulder Sunday. It revealed a Grade 3 -- the most severe category -- AC joint separation. He is expected to miss up to six weeks but will not need surgery. "I'm cool," Paul said Monday. "It's one of those situations where it could have been worse. I woke up yesterday and I was done feeling sorry for myself." ... Clippers coach Doc Rivers confirmed that the team is considering signing former Magic F Hedo Turkoglu, a 34-year-old veteran who was waived by the Magic on Friday. "I just like him as a player," Rivers said. "He's out there so we should take a look. He can shoot. He can play the 3 or 4. It's a position we can use in some ways. Yeah, we're looking." ... The Clippers signed G Darius Morris before the game, and he scored one point in eight minutes.
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