Preview: L.A. Clippers At Orlando
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, February 5, 2016
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
The Los Angeles Clippers suffered a disappointing end to their homestand with a loss to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday and will spend the next week on the East Coast leading into the All-Star break. The Clippers kick off the four-game trip by visiting the Orlando Magic on Friday.
The 108-102 loss to the Timberwolves snapped a four-game winning streak and dropped Los Angeles to 15-4 since power forward Blake Griffin was lost to a quad injury and then a broken hand. The Clippers had shown off a strong commitment on the defensive end by holding its previous four opponents to an average of 89.5 points but allowed Minnesota to shoot 50.6 percent from the field. Orlando watched Kevin Durant drain a 3-pointer in front of the buzzer in a 117-114 loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday but managed to find some positives. “I think we’re going in the right direction,” guard Victor Oladipo told reporters. “I thought we competed (Wednesday) and I felt like a lot of guys wanted to win badly. We’ve just got to do that every night.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), FSN Florida (Orlando)
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (32-17): Los Angeles let its temper get the best of it on Wednesday, when Austin Rivers ended his night in the first half by receiving a pair of technical fouls and Chris Paul was hit with another in the final seconds that helped the Timberwolves seal the game. Paul apologized to his teammates after the game for drawing the untimely tech, but DeAndre Jordan put the loss squarely on the defense. “Our defense was terrible (Wednesday),” Jordan told reporters. “We were a step slow on everything. …The officials didn’t have anything to do with the way we played. We didn’t come out with the right mindset and the right spirit, that’s why we lost this basketball game.”
ABOUT THE MAGIC (21-27): Orlando went 2-12 in January and started February 0-2 with a brutal road trip to San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Oladipo had a chance to give the Magic a lead in the final seconds on Wednesday but had his layup attempt blocked by Serge Ibaka before Durant took the ball the other way. “I thought I had an opening, but Serge is known for blocking shots,” Oladipo told reporters. “I kind of wish I could get that one back. I’d do something different. I just have to learn from it because I’ll be in that situation again. I believe I’ll come out with a better result.”
1. Jordan is averaging 18 rebounds in the last five games.
2. Magic PG Elfrid Payton is 6-of-23 from the field in the last two contests.
3. Los Angeles has taken four straight in the series, including a 103-101 home win on Dec. 5.
PREDICTION: Clippers 112, Magic 106