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Orlando at Los Angeles

Howard scores 22, helps Magic hold off Clippers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- The Orlando Magic came out running the floor and defending with seemingly boundless energy. The Los Angeles Clippers never knew what hit them.

Dwight Howard scored 22 points and the Magic won 94-85 on Sunday night, snapping skids of four games overall and three straight on the road.

Jameer Nelson added 17 points, Vince Carter 13, and Brandon Bass had 13 points and a career high-tying 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

The Magic built a 26-point lead early in the second quarter, and the Clippers never fully dug themselves out.

Blake Griffin had 27 points and 16 rebounds for his 18th double-double, and Eric Gordon scored 28 points for the Clippers, who lost for the eighth time in a row to Orlando. Their NBA-worst record dropped to 5-20, and they have yet to beat an Eastern Conference team in five tries.

Griffin earned kudos from Howard after their first matchup, just like he did earlier in the week after playing against Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

"He is really aggressive out there. That is what I like about him," Howard said. "He just needs to continue to work hard and get better. They are going to be a good team."

After losing back-to-back one-point games, the Clippers only got as close as six points in the fourth quarter on Baron Davis' alley-oop pass to Griffin, whose dunk briefly brought the crowd to its feet. Los Angeles trailed by 26 points early in the second.

"It started on the defensive end. We did a great job of forcing them into taking a bad shot with the shot clock running low," Griffin said about the play. "As soon as we had it, I just took off and Baron put the ball on the money like he always does."

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Bass dunked for the Magic, who made only three of their next eight free throws but regained a double-digit lead that they held for most of the final minutes.

"We did some really good things, like take care of the ball," Griffin said, noting the team's season-low eight turnovers. "We still got to be more consistent and play a whole game.

"It's tough, but at the same time I know it's not going to happen overnight. It's going to be gradual."

Orlando's defense had been allowing 92.2 points a game -- third-highest in the league -- but the poor-shooting Clippers were no threat to reach that total. They hit 38 percent from the floor for the game, and a measly 24 percent in the first quarter.

"My first six shots were wide open, I just wasn't knocking them down," Gordon said. "We just had a bad start. We cut it down to six, but it still takes a toll on you. We took good shots and just didn't make them."

In the Clippers' past three losses, they've been well under their season averages in points and shooting percentage.

"We had some good looks, we just couldn't knock anything down," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said.

The Clippers trailed 69-59 after outscoring the Magic 19-10 in the third. Howard picked up his fourth foul 1½ minutes into the period and sat down, while Nelson was limited to a 3-pointer and Carter had four points.

"We have been struggling defensively anyway, but without Dwight, people just attack the rim and we seem absolutely helpless to do anything about it," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Howard could see what was wrong from the bench.

"The ball was stagnant, we weren't getting in the paint, we took a lot of jump shots," he said. "I just wanted to be aggressive on the offensive end and try to get some fouls, get to the free throw line, but also just attack. We stopped attacking and that allowed them to get back in the game."

Los Angeles cut its 26-point deficit down in the second to trail 59-40 at halftime. Griffin and Gordon had seven points each. The Magic built their largest lead using a 19-4 run over the end of the first and start of the second, with six different players scoring.

The Magic outran the Clippers in the opening quarter when they shot 64 percent from the floor and owned a 20-2 edge in the paint.

Notes

  • Gordon has scored 20 or more points 20 times this season.
  • Van Gundy earned career victory No. 298.
  • The Magic improved to 7-5 on the road.
  • The Clippers' last victory against the Magic was on Dec. 3, 2006.
  • After two days off, the Clippers will open a three-game trip Wednesday at Philadelphia. They are 0-10 on the road.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Blake Griffin stands his ground against Dwight Howard, but his Clippers teammates are no match for the rest of the Magic.  (US Presswire)
Blake Griffin stands his ground against Dwight Howard, but his Clippers teammates are no match for the rest of the Magic. (US Presswire)

Scoreboard
Orlando (16-8) «3524102594
L.A. Clippers (5-20)1426192685
ORL:D. Howard 22 Pts
ORL:B. Bass 11 Reb
ORL:J. Nelson 9 Ast
LAC:E. Gordon 28 Pts
LAC:B. Griffin 16 Reb
LAC:E. Gordon 8 Ast
Players of the Game
OrlandoLos Angeles

Jameer Nelson

Blake Griffin
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
174927165
Orlando
V. Carter, SG346-120-073313
J. Nelson, PG336-122-249417
B. Bass, PF326-131-4110313
R. Lewis, PF284-102-240211
D. Howard, C258-116-1380522
M. Pietrus, SG301-82-24014
M. Gortat, PF242-20-09134
J. Redick, SG192-33-33017
J. Williams, PG151-40-04403
Q. Richardson, SGDid Not Play
M. Allen, PFDid Not Play
C. Duhon, PGDid Not Play
R. Anderson, PFDid Not Play
D. Orton, CDid Not Play
Totals 36-7516-2654172294
 48.0%61.5% 
Los Angeles
B. Griffin, PF4211-235-11165427
E. Gordon, SG419-239-918228
B. Davis, PG332-70-02624
R. Gomes, SF241-60-02112
D. Jordan, C211-22-27144
R. Butler, SG283-110-04008
B. Cook, PF173-50-13057
E. Bledsoe, PG151-30-03122
A. Aminu, SF91-20-03002
C. Smith, PF60-21-21021
J. Collins, C40-00-00000
C. Kaman, CDid Not Play
R. Foye, PGDid Not Play
W. Warren, SGDid Not Play
Totals 32-8417-2542222285
 38.1%68.0% 
Other Games
Den 125 Final
NY 129
NO 70 Final
Phi 88
LAL 99 Final
NJ 92
Port 78 Final
SA 95
Cle 77 Final
OKC 106