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Clippers attempt to right ship against pesky upstart Magic squad

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After arguably the biggest upset in the NBA this season, the Los Angeles Clippers now must pick themselves off the mat and travel to Florida where they must try to knock off a tough, young Orlando Magic team.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic are one of the up and coming teams in the league, and all you need to do to understand that notion is just look at their dang roster. It’s littered with prime young talent that has the ability to pan out quite well. They feature 10 players who are 25 years old or younger right now, and that’s pretty darn crazy. Their top six scorers are all 25 years old or younger, as well. It starts with Nikola Vucevic, who is averaging 16.7 points and 8.8 rebounds. He’s about as steady of an offensive center as you can find these days, but his defense is lacking a little bit.

Opposition's Blog: Orlando Pinstriped Post

Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton are supposed to be the backcourt of the future, but they’ve had tough moments here and there. However, their potential is still astronomical. Aaron Gordon is averaging 10.6 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 29.8 minutes since being put into the starting lineup seven games ago. He’ll be tough to deal with. Tobias Harris is pouring in 13.7 points per game, Evan Fournier is averaging 13.5 on 44-39-82 shooting, and even rookie guard Mario Hezonja is getting on track seeing how he’s averaging 10-2-2 on 50-50-100 over the last five games. Orlando has talent, so taking them lightly would be stupid. They come at you in waves, and you better be prepared or else you’re in for a major fight. Just ask the Oklahoma City Thunder this year.

2015-16 NBA Regular Season
@
Los Angeles Clippers (32-17)

Orlando Magic (21-27)
February 5, 2016 — 4:00 PM PT
Amway Center (Orlando, Florida)
Prime Ticket, FS Florida, The Beast 980 AM, KWKW 1330 AM
Projected Starters
Chris Paul PG Elfrid Payton
J.J. Redick SG Victor Oladipo
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute SF Tobias Harris
Paul Pierce PF Aaron Gordon
DeAndre Jordan C Nikola Vucevic
Efficiency Stats ('15-'16)
98.12 Pace 96.38
106.2 OffRtg 101.3
101.2 DefRtg 103.2
+5.0 NetRtg -1.9
Injury Report
Blake Griffin OUT
Dewayne Dedmon; C.J. Watson

According to FiveThirtyEight’s daily NBA predictions and such, the Los Angeles Clippers were 16½ point favorites against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and they had a 94 percent chance of winning. And then they lost. Welcome to the NBA! Anyways, the team now must rebound and recover while still going through the Blake Griffin drama. Chris Paul is still maginificent, averaging 18.9 points, 9.5 assists, and 3.8 rebounds on 46-39-89 this year. After his slow start, he’s really turned it around. Also, J.J. Redick, last game notwithstanding, has been great all year. He’s averaging 16.0 points on 48-48-87. They’re one of the most prolific backcourts in the entire league.

Past Game Previews: 2015-16 Game Previews

DeAndre Jordan has done his part, averaging 12.0 points and 13.8 rebounds on the year, to go along with 2.2 blocks. His 71.9 percent shooting, which is mostly just dunks and putbacks, leads the league, and he’s on pace to post the second highest field goal percentage for a single season in NBA history. Jamal Crawford’s averaging 18.4 points on 46-33-92 over his last five games, but Paul Pierce is struggling ever since that five game hot spurt he had from deep. Since January 9th, Pierce is shooting 30-26-40 and only averaging 5.9 points. Wesley Johnson is averaging 10.8 points and 2.6 rebounds on 38.7 percent from deep over the last five contests. It might be time to start him over Pierce. Either way, the Clippers need to come out with intensity and focus on the defensive end to win this game. No game can be taken for granted anymore, no matter who the opponent might be.