LOS ANGELES – Two streaking teams going in opposite directions.
The Los Angeles Clippers, co-owners of the NBA’s best record and on a roll at home.
The Orlando Magic, battling foes only to fall short while piling up the franchise’s longest skid since the 2003-04 season.
Something had to give, and Saturday, it was the Clippers.
J.J. Redick gave Orlando its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer with 42 seconds to go, Arron Afflalo tied his season high with 30 points, and the Magic beat the Clippers, 104-101, to snap a 10-game skid.
“It wasn’t a letdown by us. Don’t try to take anything away from them,” Clippers guard Chris Paul said. “They made tough shot after tough shot. J.J. Reddick had a hand in his face half the time.”
The loss ended the Clippers’ franchise-record, 13-game home winning streak and provided them with a scare when All-Star Paul went down holding his right knee with 54 seconds to go.
Paul returned after a timeout and hit a 15-footer to cut the deficit to one point with 33 seconds left.
But the Clippers turned the ball over on Jamal Crawford’s offensive foul, with Redick drawing the charge.
“I got the ball in transition and I thought I saw Matt (Barnes) over there,” said Crawford, a graduate of Seattle’s Rainier Beach High. “I thought I made the right decision, but J.J. Redick guessed right. I thought he was going to rotate, so I faced it. When I put the ball down he stayed there, so lucky guess.”
Vucevic dunked to extend Orlando’s lead to 104-101 with 8 seconds left.
After a timeout, Crawford missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
The Clippers were 6-for-6 from the free throw line, and Orlando was 15-for-19.
“That’s unheard of,” Paul said. “Blake (Griffin) takes 22 shots and no free throws. That’s not typical for us.”
Redick added 21 points, and Vucevic had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Magic.
Griffin tied his season-high with 30 points, Crawford added 13 points, and Paul had 10 points and 16 assists for the Clippers.
“This was a bad loss,” Griffin said. “We have to get back to what made us successful and what got us here. That was our defensive intensity and everybody contributing and everybody having a fire out there.”