Jonathon Simmons turns in big night but shorthanded Magic fall to Clippers
The Clippers moved a half-game ahead of Denver and Utah in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot with the win.
The Clippers have won four of their last five, while the Magic has lost 11 of their last 13.
The Clippers opened the game appearing as though they would make it a rout, jumping out to a 10-0 lead.
But the Magic answered, took the lead at 22-21, and made it a battle the rest of the way. They led by as many as nine (81-72) before it was Los Angeles’ turn to respond.
The game was tied at 91 when the Clippers went on a 12-4 run. The Clippers outscored the Magic 26-16 in the fourth quarter.
Magic: With F Aaron Gordon out for a second game with concussion symptoms, rookie Jonathan Isaac again started. Some of his teammates want to see him be more aggressive with open shots. “We call them rhythm pass-ups,” coach Frank Vogel said. “If you execute your offense, the defense is going to react to it, the ball is going to swing and it creates a rhythm shot. If you pass that up, it leads to a worse shot and a one-on-one situation.”
Clippers: Williams leads the team in scoring, mostly as a bench player, but the man coach Doc Rivers called “lethal” offensively, has oddly hit only 11 of his last 20 free throws entering Saturday. “He’s human,” Rivers said. “It won’t last. I can guarantee that. And one guy who is not worried about it is Lou. I’ve never seen a more lethal, relaxed scorer than him. I mean, nothing fazes him. That’s probably why he’s good.” . The team announced it would return to Hawaii next summer for training camp.
Magic: complete a five-game trip Tuesday in San Antonio.
Clippers: open three-game trip in Chicago on Tuesday.