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Clippers 86, Magic 76

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO -- Guard Eric Bledsoe had 27 points and seven rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to an 86-76 victory over the Orlando Magic Wednesday night.

While the Clippers (35-16) snapped a three-game losing streak, the Magic (14-35) lost their 11th consecutive game and their 22nd in the last 24.

Jameer Nelson, who missed the previous two games with a left forearm bruise, had 18 points for the Magic, but he failed to score in the second half. Magic center Nikola Vucevic had 15 points and 13 rebounds.

For Bledsoe, who has replaced injured Chris Paul in the Clippers' starting lineup, it was his career-high ninth consecutive game with at least 10 points. Center DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 14 rebounds.

The low-scoring, poorly-played game came as no surprise. Both teams were without their three leading scorers.

The Magic played without Arron Afflalo (strained left calf), J.J. Redick (sore right shoulder) and Glen Davis (broken left foot). Jamal Crawford (strained right shoulder), Blake Griffin (strained left hamstring) and Paul (right kneecap) watched from the Clippers bench.

The Clippers, who struggled with 11 turnovers before halftime, dominated the second half, limiting the Magic to just 34 points. The Clippers shot 40.2 percent from the field, while the Magic managed just 34.9 percent.

The Magic led 42-40 at intermission. Nelson hit a trio of 3-point baskets. But in the second half, Nelson missed his only two shots.

The Magic managed just 13 points in the third quarter, letting their two-point halftime lead become a nine-point deficit going into the fourth. They never led after giving away the lead early in the second half.

Jordan sparked the Clippers early with three dunks in the first quarter as he powered through a porous Magic defense.

Matt Barnes, who got his 10th technical foul of the season in the second quarter, had eight points in the first half.

NOTES: It was exactly a year ago, also in Orlando, when Chauncey Billups sustained the torn left Achilles that ended his season and led to his slow recovery from surgery this season. Billups has missed all but three games because of tendinitis in that same foot. "Back to the scene of the crime," he said. ... Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro met privately with Barnes after the morning workout and talked about the forward's struggles in the two games since he returned from a one-game NBA suspension. "I need him to be aggressive defensively," Del Negro said before the game. ... Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu went into Wednesday's game having missed his past 12 3-point attempts. He had made only one of 24 shots from 3-point range in 11 games this season prior to Wednesday. ... The Magic are on pace to shatter the NBA record for fewest free throws in a season, set in 2006 by the Phoenix Suns (18 per game). The Magic are averaging 15.8, which had contributed to their losing streak. "You learn a lot about people in times of adversity," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said.
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