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Magic 98, Clippers 90

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Center Nikola Vucevic had 30 points and 21 rebounds to lead the Orlando Magic to a 98-90 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night at the Amway Center.

After letting a 19-point lead slip away in the third quarter, the Magic (3-2) rallied late to win their third consecutive game. The Clippers (3-2) saw their three-game winning streak end.

Vucevic hit six consecutive free throws in the final 23 seconds to seal the victory. Back-to-back baskets by Arron Afflalo and Vucevic gave the Magic a 92-89 lead they never lost.

Forward Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Point guard Chris Paul, who fouled out in the closing seconds, had 18 points and 10 assists. Paul missed a layup with 17 seconds remaining and the Clippers trailing by three.

The Clippers came into the game as the highest scoring team in the league (119 points per game), but they struggled against the Magic through most of the night.

Los Angeles led 74-72 going into the final period. Orlando reserve guard E'Twaun Moore hit back-to-back 3-pointers, though, to give the Magic an 86-82 lead midway through the fourth. The lead bounced back and forth throughout the final period.

The Clippers turned a 19-point deficit early in the third period into a six-point lead late in the same quarter. The turnaround was led by guard J.J. Redick and Griffin, who had 12 and nine points, respectively, in that reversal. The Clips outscored the Magic 32-15 in the third.

Redick, who started last season in Orlando before a trade to Milwaukee, hit two 3-pointers during the rally.

Everything went right for the Magic early as they built a 57-42 halftime lead. Vucevic had 14 points and nine rebounds at the break. The Magic hit 55 percent from the field, while the Clippers managed just 35.6 percent. Los Angeles missed all eight of its first-half 3-point attempts.

The Magic scored first and never trailed in the first half, passing crisply and hitting open shots from all angles. The Clippers, who tied a franchise record by scoring 78 points in the first half Monday against the Houston Rockets, struggled to find any rhythm early on Wednesday.

Immediately after entering the game late in the first quarter, Magic rookie guard Victor Oladipo sparked the home crowd by hitting a 3-pointer, then stealing the ball quickly from Paul, a five-time All-Star.

Paul was in early foul trouble, frustrated by his team's inability to score in the first two periods.

NOTES: Clippers F Matt Barnes, who averaged 21 minutes over the first four games, sat out Wednesday with a sore calf. He also may miss Thursday's game against the Heat in Miami, according to coach Doc Rivers. ... Rivers said before the game that while he was coach of the Boston Celtics, he tried several times to trade for G J.J. Redick. "He fits well on a good team. He's very tough and very competitive, which usually translates well," Rivers said. ... The Clippers entered the game averaging a league-high 119 points, almost five points more than the No. 2 Dallas Mavericks. ... Magic F Glen Davis, who remains on the injured list after surgery to repair a foot fracture, practiced with coaches on the court before the game. F Tobias Harris (sprained ankle) also missed his fifth consecutive game. ... Orlando began the night leading the NBA in rebounding, averaging 47.8 boards per game. Each team grabbed 51 rebounds Wednesday. ... The Magic play host to the Celtics on Friday.
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