Created: 11/06/2013 10:05 PM WHEC.com
(AP) ORLANDO, Fla. - Nik Vucevic had 30 points _ including six free throws in the final 23 seconds _ and 21 rebounds to help the Orlando Magic hold on for a 98-90 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
The win was the Magic’s third in a row, and gives them their first three-game streak since December of last season.
Orlando led by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, before Los Angeles took their first lead with a 25-5 run.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 18 points and 10 assists. Former Magic guard J.J. Redick also chipped in 17 points.
The loss ends a three-game win streak for the Clippers, whose three-game road trip continues Thursday at Miami.
Just days after scoring their most points in nearly four years, the Clippers were sluggish and looked a little tired on both ends early as the youthful Magic pushed the pace on the way to building a 15-point halftime lead.
The Clippers led 75-72 early in the fourth when Byron Mullens and Andrew Nicholson got tangled up running down the floor. Nicholson fell to the ground during the scrum and was initially whistled for a technical foul.
It was reviewed and a technical was also awarded to Mullens.
The play seemed to re-ignite the Magic, though, who took the lead back _ 83-80 _ on a transition 3-pointer by E’Twaun Moore with 6:43 to play.
Paul tied it again at 86 with a short jumper in the lane a few trips later, and a defensive 3-seconds call on the Magic and a free throw by Redick gave back the lead to Los Angeles.
It twice changed hands on the next two trips before a fade away jumper by Arron Afflalo put the Magic back in front 90-89.
The Clippers called timeout to set up a play, but Paul missed a 3-pointer late in the shot clock which was rebounded by Orlando.
Vucevic then scored off a feed from Jameer Nelson on the other end.
Paul turned it over on the Clippers’ next possession, but the Magic failed to get up a clean shot on their ensuing trip.
DeAndre Jordan was fouled and connected on 1 of 2 free throws to trim it 92-90 with 25 seconds remaining.
Vucevic was then sent to the line for the Magic, but got both of his attempts to fall to stretch the lead back to four.
The Clippers misfired again and Vucevic hit four more from the line to close it out.
The Magic came out hot, connecting on eight of their first 11 shots and getting good looks both in the paint and on the perimeter.
The Clippers stayed close, though, using quick in-bounds passes to help get some easy baskets.
Los Angeles was 0 for 8 from beyond the arc in the first half.
NOTES: Magic F Tobias Harris sat out his fifth straight game with a sprained left ankle. Coach Jacque Vaughn said there remains no timetable for his return. ...The Clippers played without F Matt Barnes (calf). Coach Doc Rivers said he could miss Thursday’s game against Miami as well. ... Recently-retired Grant Hill was in attendance on Wednesday night. He played with both the Magic and Clippers during his 19-year career.