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Clippers get caught in 'trap' game, lose to lowly Magic, 104-101

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro calls their performance 'embarrassing' after Orlando ends 10-game losing streak by erasing an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit.

January 12, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Orlando's Arron Afflalo, left, shown putting up a shot against Ronny Turiaf, had a season-high-tying 30 points during the Magics 104-101 victory over the Clippers on Saturday at Staples Center.
Orlando's Arron Afflalo, left, shown putting up a shot against Ronny… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

The Clippers maintained they didn't look past the struggling Orlando Magic, a team that entered Saturday's game with a 10-game losing streak.

But Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro was in no mood for any explanations his players had following a disturbing 104-101 loss to the Magic at Staples Center.

In Del Negro's eyes, it should not have come down to Jamal Crawford's missing a potential tying three-point attempt as the buzzer sounded.

And it didn't matter to Del Negro that Chris Paul appeared to injure his right knee late in the game, because the point guard continued to play while the Clippers were having their 13-game home win streak broken.

"Embarrassing performance for us today," Del Negro said. "We got outworked in every aspect."

Del Negro's team had a 13-point lead in the first half, a 10-point lead in the third quarter and an eight-point lead in the fourth.

"We got off to a pretty good start early," Del Negro said. "We got a little complacent."

His team couldn't close out the Magic because the Clippers couldn't stop Arron Afflalo from getting a season high-tying 30 points. That included a four-point play when he made a three-pointer while being fouled by Matt Barnes late in the fourth quarter. After Afflalo made the free throw, the Magic had pulled to within two points.

Del Negro's team couldn't stop J.J. Redick from scoring 10 of his 21 points in the fourth, including a three-pointer over Barnes that gave the Magic a 102-99 lead with 42.1 seconds left.

"We let them hang around and then Afflalo and Redick hit some shots," Del Negro said. "We missed and we got what we deserved."

The Clippers couldn't seem to get the foul they needed when they trailed 102-101 after Paul (10 points, 16 assists) scored with 33.5 seconds left.

Instead, Redick passed out of a double team to Josh McRoberts, who passed ahead to Nikola Vucevic (18 points, 15 rebounds) for a dunk, the final basket of the game with 8.1 seconds left.

That left Del Negro talking about how the Magic made 44% of its three-point shots (11 of 25), something the Clippers had talked about defending better.

There was no shortage of other topics for Del Negro to discuss. Such as the Magic's 52.4% shooting in the fourth quarter, when it outscored the Clippers, 29-18. And Orlando's 22 second-chance points (to the Clippers' seven). And its 41-35 rebounding edge, which included 10 offensive boards.

"You guys talk about those trap games," Del Negro said. "They're all trap games if you don't come to play. It doesn't matter about the records and stuff. Guys are out there and they are pros and you got to come to play. Sure, on paper you should win those games, but it doesn't work like that all the time. . . ."

When Paul went down after colliding with Redick while chasing a loose ball, the score was tied at 99-99 with 54.7 seconds left.

Paul returned, but the Clippers still couldn't overcome the Magic, even with Blake Griffin scoring a season-high-tying 30 points.

When asked what he could call losing to a 13-23 Magic team, Del Negro was succinct.

"I don't know what you call it. It's a loss," Del Negro said. "That's what I call it and it's a poor performance."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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