Clippers 115, Magic 106
McGrady, second in the NBA in scoring, missed the game to attend his aunt’s funeral.
“There goes 27 points a game from our lineup, so for sure it made a difference,” Orlando’s Gordon Giricek said. “We knew we had to do something to make up for that and I think everyone gave a good effort, we just didn’t stop their shooting. They were hitting everything.”
McGrady, who averaged 34.2 points the past nine games, is expected back in time for Tuesday’s game at Minnesota.
“That would have been like us playing without Elton Brand, so yes, it made a big difference,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “Some guys can come in and play well and pick up some of the slack, but you’re probably not going to get all of his points back.”
The Clippers, who had five players in double figures, went ahead with a 10-0 run in the first quarter. Brand’s free throw capped the spurt to give Los Angeles a 28-19 lead with 1:26 left in the quarter.
“Most of the night we moved the ball pretty well,” said Dunleavy, whose team is two games into a stretch of nine straight on the road. “Orlando came out double-teaming so we moved the ball and got it to open shooters and we shot the ball pretty well.”
Richardson kept the Clippers in front with 14 points in the first half, then helped them break the game open with consecutive 3-pointers in the third period. He finished with six 3-pointers, and the Clippers went 10-of-17 from beyond the arc.
“I thought we did a good job of keeping the ball out of Brand’s hands, but our closeouts on the outside weren’t quite as quick as we would have liked,” Magic coach Johnny Davis said.
Orlando cut the margin to 70-65 on a short jumper by Giricek, but Richardson’s 3s sparked a 9-0 run that pushed the lead back to 79-65.
“Teams are always going to double (Brand) when he gets the ball down there and he did a great job of passing out of the post,” Richardson said.
The Magic cut the deficit to six twice early in the fourth quarter, but never got closer. The Clippers turned to backup center Predrag Drobnjak, who scored all 13 of his points in the fourth period to hold off any Magic attemptsat a comeback.
It’s the first time the Clippers have swept the Magic since the 1991-92season. … Los Angeles is 4-0 on the road when leading after three quarters.