LA Clippers Look To Keep Rolling Against Magic

LA Clippers Orlando Magic (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LA Clippers Orlando Magic (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

As the LA Clippers host the Orlando Magic, they look to keep building off a morale-boosting win against the Cavs. Focus and energy will be key factors to Kawhi and Co. to protect their homecourt.

The Clippers will be facing the Orlando Magic at home on Thursday night. The Magic are currently 20-21 on the season. Despite being under .500, the Magic can be a much tougher opponent than their record shows. They were able to prove that last night to the Lakers. Orlando, like the Clippers, has dealt with injury issues this season to some of their key players.

Paul George will be out for the matchup with a hamstring strain. This will be George’s fourth consecutive game missed due to his injury, with no timetable on his return. All other Clippers’ rotation players are available.

For the Clippers, staying engaged on the defensive end will be pertinent, specifically the communication on that end. Doc Rivers has mentioned recently that the Clippers bigs need to be more vocal on the floor when defending. With a center that has the skill set of Nikola Vucevic– shooting and precision passing- not calling out backdoor screens and cutting wings can be detrimental for the Clippers.

Ivica Zubac

had a huge game on Tuesday, posting 12 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 blocks. His 4 blocks in the first two quarters tied a career-high for blocks in a half. Zu will have to be prepared to play up on Vucevic at the three-point line, while the wings will need to rotate in if Vuc decides to run it in past the Clippers big.

While the Magic is not a great three-point shooting team, they do have the threat of Evan Fournier in the wings. Fournier is shooting 47% from the field, 40% three, and 82% from the line. The Magic will look to get the french shooting guard going early- if his shot starts falling it will open up a lot more for the should’ve-been-slam-dunk-contest-champion Aaron Gordon.

Orlando has helped revitalize and shape a great redemption story in guard Markelle Fultz. The former first-round pick has slowly been putting together a revenge season against a league that had almost counted him out as a bust and a hopeless cause after being sidelined most of his rookie season with a shoulder injury. He did leave last night’s win early but should be good to play tonight.

On the other end of the ball, the Clippers are hoping to have a second straight game with fairly low turnovers. After committing only eleven turnovers in the contest against Cleveland, Doc praised the team’s ability to pass the ball, especially while playing at a fast pace.

The Magic are posting an impressive 8.7 steals a game- enough to be tied for second in the league. They’re also tied at fourth place for blocks per game at 6.2. The Clippers will get a bit of a break here while Orlando’s best defender Jonathan Isaac remains out with a left knee injury.

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Missing one of their best players, being on the second night of a back to back, and being only 7-13 on the road are all facets that point to an easy Clippers win. All those things also have the makings of a trap game. The Clippers cannot afford to be lulled into a lack of urgency due to an opponent’s record. After the game against Cleveland, it looks like those days are in the past and this team has a new sense of effort.