In the final minutes of the game, the Orlando Magic pushed the pace to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 113-108.
The Magic scored 39 points in the fourth quarter alone, the effort was spearheaded by guard Markelle Fultz and center Wendell Carter Jr. They ultimately scored 28 and 27 points respectively.
“Fultz was pushing the pace and I thought that led to them getting into paint attacks, us not getting matched up,” said Clippers associate head coach Dan Craig. “That third quarter, we felt good. It was 27 to 17 and then giving up 39 points. They made some timely shots Fultz and Carter Jr.’s threes hurt us in that fourth.”
Clippers guard Russell Westbrook leads all scorers with 11 points at the end of the first quarter against the Orlando Magic
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Clippers guard Paul George scored 30 points and center Ivica Zubac had 16 rebounds to go with his 16 points. Los Angeles was without forward Kawhi Leonard, who scored 30 points on the Clippers’ 134-126 win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. George noted how his absence on the hardwood was not a hindrance.
“We practiced that way and it wasn’t something that was thrown at us,” George said. “We knew that [Leonard] wasn’t gonna be in today so we knew the roles and what we needed to do today.”
The Clippers had a slow start, allowing the Magic to make an 8-0 run. Westbrook rallied for the Clippers, bringing them within one point at the end of the first quarter.
Magic forward Franz Wagner and guard Cole Anthony managed the Orlando offense. Forward Robert Covington came off the bench to score nine points in the second phase. Craig expressed how Covington knows how to stay prepared to step up for whatever role the Clippers need.
“He was solid, came in and gave us a good show on both sides of the ball,” Craig said. “Did some things disruptive defensively and offensively get out there, helped us space the floor.”
The Clippers forced turnovers and made stops to start the second half. Forward Marcus Morris Sr. went on a seven-point run, putting the Clippers ahead by five points. Shots from Fultz would close the Magic deficit only for the Clippers to go on runs to extend their lead.
Anthony grabbed three points early in the fourth quarter to bring the Magic within five points. The Magic kept battling and a three from Carter gave Orlando the lead. With 1:18 left in regulation, George scored a layup and a three-pointer in the next possession. Magic players continued to make shots to secure their win.
The Clippers travel to battle the Portland Trailblazers on March 19 at 6:00P.M.
“Another chance to play and play full strength,” George said. “It’s the nature of the league, games come quick.”