Andrew Fielding/USA TODAY
The Magic led 3-2. That was about the only positive offensive moment of consequence for a Magic team starting a West Coast trip. What followed was a thorough deconstruction of the Magic's defense and a complete stalling out of the Magic offense.
To make matters worse, Nikola Vucevic suffered a concussion playing his first game after missing a couple games with a sprained ankle. He could be out for more time as he goes through the leagues concussion protocols.
Orlando's starters were all at least a -20 with the team's backcourt duo going at least -30. The shots were not falling and they were bad shots even if they were. It was a rough night for the Magic that saw them trailing by more than 30 points in the second half.
Run outs and poster dunks followed in the Clippers' 101-81 win over the Magic at Staples Center on Monday.
The Magic shot just 35.7 percent from the floor and had only 15 assists on their 30 field goal makes. The Clippers, on the other hand, had 30 assists on 35 field goal makes. That is a big difference, a symbol of the team's ability to move the ball and break down the Magic. That was the game, to be honest.
Orlando's offense is often criticized for being stagnant and that was no more evident than in this game. There was just nothing for the Magic to do to crack the Clippers defensive code. DeAndre Jordan recorded five block, providing a staunch barricade at the rim and the Magic missed seven free throws when they did get to the line and drew fouls.
Those fouls dried up as the game went on. Not that it mattered, the Clippers were up 18-3 before the Magic could blink.
Orlando's offensive issues led to runout turnovers as Los Angeles converted 20 points off Orlando's 18 turnovers. It was just one bad play after another.
And the individual numbers only seem to make it worse . . .
Try: Tobias Harris with two points on 1-for-9 shooting. Or Nikola Vucevic with two points and eight rebounds. Or Jameer Nelson with three points on 1-for-9 shooting (he missed his final eight shots). Arron Afflalo scored 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting. It was a bad night for the starters. Something that could not happen to have a chance in this game.
Maurice Harkless scored 22 points off the bench for the Magic in one of the rare sparks for the team. He helped get the team close to 10 points in the second quarter and was part of the group that brought the Magic to within 20 points in the fourth quarter. It is good to see Harkless getting some confidence, even if it is in virtually three quarters of garbage time.
Victor Oladipo also played well, charging the Magic's fourth quarter run that made the score respectable. He had 22 points as well and eight rebounds and five assists.
Again, you have to reach for bright spots. And even then, they were individual bright spots that had nothing to do with the team or its success. It was a night where good stretches were more than difficult to find.
The Clippers were simply a better team. They were ready to play and prove something, hungry to pounce and bury the Magic. Orlando seemed taken aback and unable to respond or find a rhythm. It was a good team against a bad team.
The Magic just have to move on.