Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic 103, Los Angeles Clippers 96

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 30: Ivica Zubac #40 of the Los Angeles Clippers and Khem Birch #24 of the Orlando Magic fight for the rebound during the third quarter at Staples Center on March 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 30: Ivica Zubac #40 of the Los Angeles Clippers and Khem Birch #24 of the Orlando Magic fight for the rebound during the third quarter at Staples Center on March 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

103. 38. 96. 77. Final

The Orlando Magic made an improbable comeback to beat the host LA Clippers at Staples Center 103-96, their first win since last week’s franchise-changing trades.

The Magic are, understandably, still figuring out roles and chemistry following last week’s roster reshuffle at the trade deadline. Newcomers Wendell Carter, R.J. Hampton and Otto Porter were available and played a pivotal role in the win.

The Clippers looked like they were going to pull away handily in the first half, starting the game with a 12-0 lead and as much as a 16-point lead, but the Magic did just enough to keep it close at the halftime break.

In the third quarter, the Magic regained their footing, winning the period 33-22, including 16 points in the paint.

The Magic’s bench scoring was key in the victory, with 56 points coming from their reserves. The Clippers only had nine active players available, and as a result, could only rely on 20 points from their bench.

The new-look Orlando Magic surprised everyone by mounting a comeback to beat the Clippers in Los Angeles Tuesday night.

Orlando made its final push in the fourth quarter to take its first lead of the game on a 19-5 scoring run that the Clippers were unable to overcome. Orlando shot 52.4-percent from the floor and was 11 for 13 from the free-throw line in the final period.

The Clippers were without All-Star forward Paul George on Tuesday, who was sidelined with a right foot injury. Kawhi Leonard tried to fill his proverbial shoes as the team’s sole offensive creator, finishing with 28 points on 10 for 20 shooting from the floor.

Orlando’s second-half offensive attack was led by Chuma Okeke, who has been the team’s leading overall scorer over the last three games. Porter and Carter added 13 and 11 points, respectively. Many of them coming in that stretch run as Carter’s defense especially anchored the team’s come-from-behind win.

The Magic’s grit against a respected team like the Clippers cannot be overstated. It’s promising to see such poise from a young roster, and this win may be an auspicious sign of future success to come.

Orlando Magic. CHUMA OKEKE. A-. . F

Chuma Okeke showed just how high his ceiling is in the victory over the LA Clippers. His play on both sides of the floor, especially down the stretch in this closely-contested game, shows his confidence level just four months into his rookie season.

Okeke was the team’s leading scorer, largely due to an efficient 7-for-11 shooting from the floor. He also added four rebounds, three steals, and two assists.

Okeke started the 10-0 run that cut the Clippers lead from 14 points at the 8:45 point in the third quarter down to just five points with 5:00 minutes remaining in the period with this beautiful steal and coast-to-coast finish:

His shot-making was paramount for this inexperienced Magic team, and Okeke seemed right at home playing under the bright L.A. lights in crunch time.

Okeke’s strong grade also comes from his solid baseline. He made very few mistakes in this game that were costly for his team, which is well reflected in his team-best plus-minus of +15.

His development over the last month has been one of the brightest developments for this franchise. Okeke’s continued success will be the key to the Magic finishing this Western Conference road trip with more wins than losses.

B. . C. Orlando Magic. WENDELL CARTER

Wendell Carter Jr. was the ying to Chuma Okeke’s yang, serving as the defensive stalwart that largely shut down the LA Clippers’ offense in the final three minutes of the game.

Wendell Carter’s highlight play came on the final Los Angeles halfcourt possession of the game, in which he jumped around Ivica Zubac to block Clippers guard Terrence Mann’s layup.

This clip encapsulates the excitement around the acquisition. He is a defensive force, both inside and outside. The possession begins with him trapping Leonard in the pick-and-roll to force the Clippers to invent a shot with seven seconds on the shot clock. His recovery and timing on this shot shows why he’s one of the league’s best defensive prospects.

Carter was also perfect from the field and free-throw line, including 4-for-4 shooting overall with a 3-pointer and 2 for 2 at the line. If he can find a reliable outside shot to further help the Magic stretch the floor, he could become a lethal two-way option.

Carter still has areas he can improve, especially as a rebounder who uses his size to create second-chance opportunities. Working under the tutelage of Khem Birch should serve him well in this area of development.

OTTO PORTER. B-. . F. Orlando Magic

Otto Porter worked as the team’s secondary bench-scoring spark plug alongside Terrence Ross and proved valuable in the final quarter comeback. eight of his 13 points came in the fourth quarter, on an efficient 4-for-5 shooting from the floor.

Aside from the emerging Chuma Okeke, sidelined Cole Anthony and Terrence Ross, the Orlando Magic do not have additional scorers who can create a high-quality shot attack off the dribble. This is a role Porter will need to serve well in if the Magic are going to realize further upsets during the remainder of the season.

Porter Jr. also added a crucial seven rebounds and had 0 turnovers. With each possession proving crucial, efficient playmaking on Porter Jr.’s part was a big reason for the win.

C. Orlando Magic. MOHAMED BAMBA. B.

Mohamed Bamba had one of his best games of the season against the LA Clippers, and hopefully, his increased role is a sign of continued development to come this season.

A tell-tale predictor of Bamba’s performance in a given game comes from the level of confidence he exudes early in the contest, and Tuesday he made sure to leave his mark in the first quarter. On his first offensive possession of the game, he squared up to knock down a pretty 17-foot jump shot:

Bamba continued to role throughout and was looking to be more selfish than usual whenever the opportunity presented itself. Bamba finished with 12 points on a rather inefficient 4-for-10 shooting but hit both of his 3-pointers. The most notable aspect of his scoring line was those 10 field goal attempts. You cannot become an efficient scorer until you get your in-game repetitions.

Bamba also dominated the glass during his 18 minutes of play, grabbing eight rebounds — including three- on the offensive end – to provide the Magic with additional opportunities.

His defensive effort was much improved. He was not leaving his feet unnecessarily against Ivica Zubac in the post, though he did provide the 7-footer with too many easy inside opportunities in the first half.

And, let’s just leave this here:

LA CLIPPERS. B. . 32-17. 3rd West

The LA Clippers played well overall, especially given their shortened available rotation on the second night of a back-to-back. Los Angeles got off to a hot start, shooting 55-percent and 50-percent from the floor and outside, respectively, in the first quarter.

The second half was a completely different story, Los Angeles shot 6 for 22 on 3-point attempts and turned the ball over 10 times, leading to 14 Orlando points. Kawhi Leonard displayed his usual efficiency and lead the team with 28 points.

Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson were the next best offensive options for the Clippers, adding 17 and 15 points, respectively. Much of Kennard and Jackson’s damage came in the first half, with their combined 4-9 shooting from outside.

The Clippers shot well from the free-throw line, a perfect 10 for 10, but did not work to draw fouls to get easy points down the stretch. Their hot outside shooting to start may have been their downfall, as they leaned on this strategy the remainder of the game.

Los Angeles certainly missed George down the stretch, turning the ball over four times and shooting 8 for 26 on field goals in the final quarter. Leonard’s 1 for 6 figure was particularly noticeable.

Next. Steve Clifford spending time to organize Magic offense. dark

Orlando is now 16-31, and 1-1 on their five-game road trip. They trail the Chicago Bulls by four games for the final spot in the Play-In Tournament. Next, the Magic head to New Orleans to face the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on Thursday night.