The Clippers Rundown
After having a few days off, the Magic are back in action tonight, as they welcome the Clippers to the Amway Center. Los Angeles is headlined by a high-octane offense run by Chris Paul, one of the best floor generals in the league. Paul is off to a smoldering start under new coach Doc Rivers, averaging 26.5 points and 13.3 assists in 4 games. Jameer Nelson should have his hands full against the former Wake Forest standout, so hopefully Magic Coach Jacque Vaughn will give Victor Oladipo a chance to test his game against the star point guard. Paul would be a challenge for Oladipo -- he is a challenge for everyone -- but it would be a great learning experience for Victor.
Elsewhere on the roster, LA sports newly acquired shooters J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, as well as big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. While Griffin and Jordan are both above-average players, if I had to guess, the Clippers front line will be Orlando's point of attack tonight. After the success they had with this strategy against the Nets, I would expect Jacque Vaughn to continue to call Nik Vucevic's number a lot. If the Magic can get either Griffin or Jordan in foul trouble, they won't be hard-pressed to deal with LA's middling backup bigs, Ryan Hollins and Byron Mullens.
Tonight will be a test, and if the Magic are to pass it, they will need some of the stellar defense they played against the Pelicans and Nets over the weekend. Lapses of concentration will be unacceptable, a strong offensive team like the Clippers capitalizes on every mistake you make. It will be fun to see how the Magic deal with this uber-talented squad.
Matchup to Watch
Arron Afflalo vs JJ Redick
Tonight's game will mark the second time that Redick will return to the Amway Center as a visitor, as well as his only time in the 2013-14 season. Redick was dealt at the trade deadline last year to the Bucks, a move which netted the Magic Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb. Meanwhile, Milwaukee only got Redick as a rental for a few months. Another win by Magic GM Rob Hennigan.
Tonight, Redick will go toe to toe with his former teammate in Arron Afflalo. Afflalo is off to a great start in this young season on offense, as he is fulfilling his goal of becoming a more efficient player.
Yet, I'm interested to see how Afflalo does on the defensive end tonight. Stats expert Wayne Winston said that Arron graded very poorly as a defender last year, although the Magic brought him in as a defensive stopper. Tonight, he will have a huge challenge on that end of the court, as he will have to sidestep the maze of screens that Redick will go through to create an open shot. One mistake, and Chris Paul finds JJ for a three.
Hopefully Arron will devote a lot of his energy to defense tonight. It will undoubtably hurt his offensive performance, but I have faith that Orlando's youngsters can pick up the slack. It's clear that the Magic won't be able to score with the Clippers, so they need to grind it out and win the same way they did against the Pelicans and Nets: with defense. Tonight, Afflalo is an integral part of that defensive effort.
Video of the Day
With Redick back in town tonight, check out his highlights from a game last season against the Pistons where he matched his career-high with 31 points, along with eight three-pointers. An incredible display.
News and Notes
- After his 360 dunk against the Nets, Victor Oladipo expressed interest in participating in the dunk contest, with the caveat that he would need the approval of the veterans on the team. "If they say yeah, then I'll do it," Oladipo declared on Monday. This would be fantastic for a number of reasons. He would be the first Magic player to participate since Dwight Howard, and if he can throw it down in games, imagine what he would do in the dunk contest. He has the elite athleticism and creativity necessary to be a perfect participant. Let's make this happen. #OladipoForDunkContest
- Knicks star center Tyson Chandler suffered a small fracture in his fibula last night in a loss to the lowly Bobcats, and he figures to be out 4-6 weeks. How does this pertain to the Magic? Remember, Orlando owns either the Knicks or Nuggets first round pick in this draft -- whichever one is worse. Most experts around the league expect the Knicks to be better, but this Chandler injury is a huge blow their team. Now they have to start the likes of Kenyon Martin or the grossly overpaid Amar'e Stoudemire at center. With a 1-3 record, the Knicks have already underperformed this season, and the Chandler injury won't make things any easier. Likewise, the Nuggets are struggling out of the gate and don't look like a playoff team. It's early, but the DenKnick pick, one which figured to be in the mid-twenties, could be in the late teens or even the lottery. It's way to early to look into this stuff, but keep an eye on the Knicks and Nuggets as the season progresses.
- Doron Lamb has suited up in Orlando's past two games --I expect he will again tonight -- but he hasn't seen any action. The Magic don't want to play Lamb at this point unless they have to, so he will continue to work his way into game shape. I'm intrigued to see where Doron will fall into Jacque Vaughn's rotation when he returns. Whether or not he supplants E'Twaun Moore will tell us a lot about how the organization views him long-term.
- Tobias Harris is still out indefinitely with his ankle injury, and I'm not quite sure when he will return. If I had to guess, it will be after the return of Glen Davis, and Big Baby figures to be out at least a few more weeks. Let's hope Tobias gets back soon, and that the injury doesn't prohibit his game throughout the entire season.
Live Stream Options
By: Scott Fisher