Clippers rally again, this time beating Magic to climb back to .500

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Los Angeles Clippers guard Amir Coffey (7) goes up for a shot in front of Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Clippers guard Amir Coffey goes up for a shot in front of Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs during the first half Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

Of course, the Clippers got down by double digits — again.

And, of course, the Clippers climbed out of that hole — again.

Because that’s what these Clippers do.

This time, however, they didn’t wait until the second half to put together a furious rally

The Clippers rallied from a 14-point deficit before the first half was over to take a one-point lead at the intermission and then finished off the game with a 111-102 win over the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on Wednesday night in Orlando, Fla.

A night earlier, the Clippers made history, coming back from a 35-point deficit against the Washington Wizards. It was the largest comeback in franchise history and tied for the second largest in the NBA since 1996, when the league began recording play-by-play statistics.

That it was the second game of a back-to-back for the Clippers against a Magic team with the worst record (9-40) in the league only reenforced to them this was a must-win game, pulling the team back to .500 (25-25) for the first time since Jan. 11.

“We had to validate the win last night by winning tonight,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters afterward. “We knew it was going to be tough. Like I said, on a back-to-back. ... Getting down 14, just had to find some combinations that worked and like I said, Justise [Winslow] finished the game. [Eric] Bledsoe came off the bench and gave us a great lift. I thought Reggie [Jackson] really struggled those first three quarters, but then he played well in the fourth quarter. So, it was a total team win.”

The Clippers were able to get production across the board with five players scoring in double figures.

Amir Coffey followed up his career-high 29 points in Washington with another complete game, collecting 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Luke Kennard had another strong outing with 17 points and five rebounds. Terance Mann (14 points) and Bledsoe (13) did their parts.

Winslow scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter from the free-throw line, missing one attempt.

Clippers guard Luke Kennard puts up a shot between Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross and center Moritz Wagner.
Clippers guard Luke Kennard puts up a shot between Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross, left, and center Moritz Wagner (21) during the second half Wednesday in Orlando, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

The Clippers didn’t shoot their first free throws until 4 minutes 34 seconds left in the third quarter. But they went 23 for 25 in the fourth.

“We shot 25. Is that what they say?” Lue said, smiling. “Good.”

He laughed, and the explained what changed for the Clippers in the second half.

“Just attacking the paint more,” Lue said. “I thought we settled in that first half, so second half we wanted to be aggressive attacking the basket, attacking the paint.”

Nicolas Batum, who didn’t play in the second half against Washington because of back spasms, got the Clippers going in the first half, launching three-pointer after three-pointer.

He scored all 12 of his points in the first half, going four for five on threes that included one that gave the Clippers a 49-48 halftime lead.

“I know I have to space the floor,” Batum said. “I was able to make a couple of threes in the first half.”

As a result of another comeback victory, Lue won his 200th career regular-season game.

“Like I said, just been fortunate to have some good teams, some good players,” Lue said. “Like I said, teams are going to play and scrap for you and compete every single night. So, I’ve just been blessed to have that.”

Turner reported from Los Angeles.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.