Clippers-Magic Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 05, 2013
Off to a tremendous start, Chris Paul has the Los Angeles Clippers' offense clicking on all cylinders. The team's effort on the defensive end is another story. Coming off their highest-scoring display in five seasons, the visiting Clippers go for a fourth consecutive win Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic. Los Angeles (3-1) has proven nearly unstoppable since a season-opening defeat to the Lakers, averaging 124.3 points on 50.6 percent shooting during its winning streak. Much of that success can be attributed to Paul, who has averaged 26.5 points and 13.3 assists while recording a double-double in all four games. Paul was at it again Monday, compiling 23 points and 17 assists as the Clippers handed Houston its first loss, 137-118. It was Los Angeles' highest-scoring game since beating New York 140-135 in overtime March 25, 2009. "Offense is pretty good. It's all about our pace. We're up-tempo. If a team misses, we're running," said Paul, whose team is averaging 16.0 fast break points. "We've got guys that play like that now. ... It's fun basketball and when we get stops I think everybody on our team's eyes light up because we have so many options." Newcomer J.J. Redick, averaging 14.3 points over the first three games, scored 26 against the Rockets and Jamal Crawford added 21 off the bench. Redick, a career 43.0 percent shooter, has made 23 of 46 shots. "Guy can shoot the basketball. It's unbelievable," Blake Griffin said. "The best part of playing with him is he never stops moving. That's how he gets his shots, he really works for them." While the Clippers haven't had any issue scoring the ball, their lackluster defensive efforts could eventually catch up to them. Los Angeles is surrendering 112.5 points per game while allowing teams to shoot 48.2 percent, including 42.4 percent from 3-point range. "We have a ways to go defensively," Redick said. "I think we're feeling more and more comfortable in our half-court defense. ... I think we're doing a pretty good job. We're starting to really understand some stuff." The Magic (2-2) are also starting to figure things out. After shooting 43.0 percent in dropping its first two games on the road, Orlando has shot 50.9 percent in opening 2-0 at home for a fifth consecutive season. After easily beating New Orleans 110-90 on Friday, the Magic posted a one-sided 107-86 victory over Brooklyn on Sunday. Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 12 rebounds while Andrew Nicholson added 17 and 11 off the bench. Star rookie Victor Oladipo scored 19. "Each individual player has gotten a lot better and our energy level and our attention to detail on both ends of the court have gotten better," Arron Afflalo told the team's official website. "These past two games have been really impressive. So now we just have to keep it going.'' Aside from a more efficient effort from the field, the Magic have held the Pelicans and Nets to a combined 36.5 percent shooting. "We know we've got to just keep being aggressive at that end," Vucevic said. Afflalo had 16 points, six rebounds and eight assists against the Nets, and is averaging a team-leading 20.8 points. Afflalo, who averaged a career-best 16.5 points last season, is averaging 20.7 in his last three meetings versus Los Angeles. Orlando had taken nine straight from the Clippers before dropping two of the last three matchups, with both losses coming at home.
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