Clippers forward Blake Griffin, center, tries to put up a shot between Orlando… (John Raoux / Associated…)
Reporting from Orlando, Fla. — The Blake Show never got much of a chance to advance past the opening credits and first few tastes of popcorn.
Throw in an annoyed and motivated marquee center, the double-teaming of Blake Griffin and the Clippers' inability to get big offense from anyone except point guard Baron Davis and reserve forward Ike Diogu and it all added up Tuesday night at Amway Arena:
Orlando 101, Clippers 85.
It's never a good sign when Griffin is on the bench for about the final three minutes — signaling the game is out of reach — and wearing a towel on his head. At least he didn't cover his eyes with it.
Griffin tied a season low with 10 points, and added 12 rebounds for his 43rd double-double of the season. Davis came close to posting a triple-double, scoring a season-high 25 points and adding eight assists and eight rebounds. Diogu had a season-high 18 points, shooting seven for 10 from the field.
"I knew we needed to hit some shots," Davis said. "I was in position and thought Eric Bledsoe made some great passes and Blake shared the ball. I was stepping up, hitting the shots. I've been working on my shooting and it felt good tonight."
For the Magic, Dwight Howard had 22 points and 20 rebounds, his fifth game this season with at least 20 and 20. And it was Orlando's ninth straight victory over the Clippers. The Magic used a 12-0 run early in the fourth quarter to put it away.
The Clippers (19-32) have lost their last seven road games and four straight overall, and are increasingly missing injured Eric Gordon's firepower.
"I thought we did a great job on Blake Griffin," said Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy. "Team defense: Ryan [Anderson] and Earl [Clark] did a very good, disciplined job. We did not miss our helps and double teams on him.
"I thought they were the hardest double teams we've had in a long time. He got the one spin-out lob, but we didn't give him the chance to get on the highlight reel a lot tonight."
Earlier in the day, Howard addressed his annoyance about questions regarding his future in Orlando, irritated that fans and the media are grouping him with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
"Why keep bringing it up?" he said at the Magic's morning shoot-around. "Why are people talking about me going any other place right now? Right now is about this season.
"It's not about L.A. New York. Wherever. I'm really tired of it. . . . I never said anything about leaving."
It probably wouldn't have been the right time to ask him to get specific about Los Angeles and taking his talents to Manhattan Beach.
An annoyed Howard was enough for the Clippers. An angered Howard probably would have gone off for 30 points and 25 rebounds.
Griffin scored 27 points and had 16 rebounds in the first meeting between the teams this season, a 94-85 Orlando victory on Dec. 12. Back then, though, Gordon was in the lineup and scored a game-high 28 points.
Without Gordon to worry about, the Magic was free to concentrate on Griffin. Other than Davis, the Clippers were woeful from the perimeter. Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes were a combined five for 24 from the field, one for seven from three-point range.
"When those guys struggle and other guys struggle, they're going to keep double-teaming Blake," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Then you compound that with your turnovers, give them some easy baskets and the crowd gets into it and gets us back on our heels.
"I thought we came out a few times: jumper, jumper, jumper. Too many jumpers instead of ball movement, body movement. . . . I thought we got very stagnant when Baron was out of the game."