Clippers rout Magic 114-86 for 6th straight win
LOS ANGELES (AP) When Blake Griffin and Chris Paul spend the entire fourth quarter on the bench, it means they can rest up for the next game and give their backups some extra playing time.
Griffin scored 21 points, Paul had 19 points and 10 assists, and the Clippers routed the undermanned Orlando Magic 114-86 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight victory.
''Games like that, where we're not having to exert any energy in the fourth quarter, just saves everybody towards the end of the year - and you definitely notice the difference,'' Griffin said. ''I remember two years ago, when the second unit was just rolling almost every game. We'd be up eight, and when we came back in the game, we'd be up by 18.''
J.J. Redick had 20 points for the two-time defending Pacific Division champions, who have won their last four by an average margin of 21.6 points. DeAndre Jordan finished with 16 rebounds and blocked three shots.
The Clippers, who finished with a total of 32 assists, are 84-14 when they get 30 or more since Paul joined the club.
''We've just been moving the ball really well,'' Paul said. ''Obviously at times, Blake will iso, or I'll iso. But other than that, we've been playing the right way. And we've been building that trust on the defensive end, too. That's where it starts, because we're so dangerous in transition. When we get stops, that's when we're at our best. We're letting our defense dictate our offense.''
Orlando lost for the sixth time in seven games and committed 17 turnovers, which the Clippers converted into 19 points. Tobias Harris scored 16 for the Magic, who had only four offensive rebounds and no second-chance points through the first three quarters.
''There's no secret that rebounding has been an Achilles heel of ours,'' Paul said. ''We know we all have to get in there too. It's not up to just Blake and D.J. to do all the rebounding. The guards have got to help. The less amount of shots that we give the other team, the more opportunities we get.''
Orlando center Nikola Vucevic, who began the day leading the league in total minutes played, total rebounds and double-doubles (13), sat out for the first time this season because of a back spasms. The four-year veteran had 19 points and 14 boards against the Clippers in a 114-90 loss on Nov. 19 at Orlando.
Kyle O'Quinn started in place of Vucevic and played eight minutes before receiving an automatic ejection for his flagrant 2 foul against Griffin with 5:54 left in the first half.
''I got hit in the face, but I honestly didn't think it was going to be a flagrant 2,'' Griffin said. ''I didn't think it was anything vicious or anything like that.''
The Clippers never trailed, getting 17 points from Redick and 15 from Griffin en route to a 57-44 halftime lead. They opened the game with a 20-5 run before the Magic closed to 38-35 with a 12-2 spurt capped by Evan Fournier's 3-pointer and Ben Gordon's 12-footer with 7 minutes left in the second quarter.
But O'Quinn's untimely ejection left Orlando vulnerable in the paint at both ends of the court, and the Clippers were able to pull away again after 7-footer Dewayne Dedmon took over at center for the Magic.
Griffin dove for a loose ball and quickly flipped it to Paul, who pushed it upcourt before hitting a 15-footer that extended the Clippers' margin to 73-52 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third. Matt Barnes' 3-pointer made it 100-72 with 7:17 remaining.
Magic: Rookie G Elfrid Payton, who came in with a team-worst free throw percentage of 49.0, threw air balls on his first two attempts and missed his first six from the line before finishing 2 for 9. ... Shooting guard Willie Green, who spent the previous two seasons with the Clippers, played 13 minutes and had seven points. ... Fournier has made a 3 in 26 consecutive games, the league's longest active streak. ... Harris has scored in double figures in each of his first 19 games, eclipsing his previous best stretch in the NBA.
Clippers: Redick, Hedo Turkoglu and Glen Davis all were teammates in Orlando during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, a fact that coach Doc Rivers acknowledged was beneficial in terms of team chemistry. ''I guess that probably helps, if they had a good experience when they were there. And those three had a very good experience,'' Rivers said. ''I'll tell you where it helps - when you're thinking about bringing one of them to your team. When we were thinking about Turk, I called J.J. And he loved him, so that made it easier for us to go after him.''
Magic: At Utah on Friday.
Clippers: Host New Orleans on Saturday.