December 03, 2014

A commitment to defense has the Orlando Magic on the verge of their longest winning streak in five years.

That doesn't bode well for the Los Angeles Clippers after their offense went stagnant in their last game without their starting backcourt.

Already missing Chris Paul, the Clippers could also be without J.J. Redick on Saturday night against a Magic team looking to push its winning streak to six.

Paul was a late scratch due to a strained rib muscle Wednesday against Indiana, and then Los Angeles (10-9) lost Redick to a sprained right ankle on the first possession. The offense was unable to overcome the loss of their 30.4 combined scoring average, shooting a season-low 38.0 percent and misfiring on 21 of 27 3-pointers in a 103-91 defeat to snap a three-game winning streak.

It didn't help that Blake Griffin had one of his worst showings of the season, scoring 19 on 6-of-18 shooting to go with four rebounds and four turnovers.

"I've got to be better. You can't really expect us to win a game when I play that poorly, shoot that badly, the turnovers. That's on me," he said. "I've got to be better. We'll bounce back from it. We've got to start another run here and keep it going."

The Clippers, though, will be without Paul, and Redick is listed as questionable. Redick is one of the league's top 3-point shooters at 45.7 percent and one of the top performers on catch-and-shoot attempts at 52.1 percent.

"I don't think it's awful," coach Doc Rivers said of Redick's injury. "That doesn't mean he might not miss some games, but he also could play the next game. ... Ankles are ankles. Sometimes you wake up the next day or in two days and you feel good and sometimes it takes a week, so who knows?"

One thing is for certain, being without two of their top offensive weapons will make things tough against an Orlando team that is allowing averages of 91.8 points and 40.1 percent shooting in the last five games.

The Magic (11-8) shut down Utah after halftime in Thursday's 103-94 win, limiting the Jazz to 37 points on 30.3 percent shooting while forcing 11 turnovers. They held Utah to three points and no field goals for the first 5 1/2 minutes of the final period.

"I thought the first half was rough for us defensively, but in the second half we bought in and were really pushing for each other," said Tobias Harris, who was one of six Orlando players in double figures with a team-high 17 points.

Victor Oladipo was one of four to score 14, and his shift to the bench has coincided with the Magic's winning streak. He is averaging a team-high 17.4 points over the last five games for Orlando, which hasn't won six straight since a nine-game run from Dec. 23, 2010-Jan. 8, 2011.

"We're not really looking at five in a row. We're just looking at it as the next game," Harris said. "One game at a time. That's the formula we've been using and we have to keep with it."

Oladipo struggled mightily against the Clippers last season as the Magic lost both meetings, totaling 18 points on 5-of-21 shooting.

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