LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers designated their game Saturday against the Orlando Magic as Turkish Heritage Day.
It wouldn't have worked as well without Magic small forward Hedo Turkoglu.
Perhaps 200 people wearing red and white T-shirts and scarves that said “Türkiya,” wished Magic small forwardTurkoglu well when Turkoglu visited the court about 75 minutes before tipoff.
They presented him with a box of baklava.
Aykut Altindis and his wife, Jacqueline Limon-Altindis, drove about 45 minutes from Chino, Calif., to root on Turkoglu.
“We’re just proud of him,” Aykut said. “He represents our country in the NBA, which is the best league in basketball in the world.”
Turkoglu didn't play in the 104-101 Magic victory.
He sat out the game because his left hand still doesn't feel quite right following surgery Nov. 3.
Vaughn grew up 20 minutes south of Staples Center, but he rarely visits his family on road trips because he’s typically working.
He made an exception during the Magic’s off-day Thursday.
He spent time with his mom and dad, including a visit to Starbucks with his mom.
The Clippers’ Blake Griffin won the slam dunk contest at 2011’s All-Star weekend, but the Magic’s Maurice Harkless and Ish Smith provided Saturday’s top dunks.
Early in the second quarter, Harkless drove from the right wing, around the defense, and finished with a baseline drive and slam. It drew audible gasps from the crowd.
Smith, who is just 6 feet tall, sprinted down the court on a fastbreak midway through the second quarter. He took off from the dotted line near the foul line. He made an emphatic, right-handed slam as Eric Bledsoe fouled him hard on the right side of his face, and Smith fell to the court on his tailbone.
Almost the entire Magic sideline leaped off its seats, even the assistant coaches, cheering.
Bledsoe was called for a personal foul, and Smith, perhaps still feeling the effects of his fall, air-balled the free throw.
“That dunk was sick!” Jameer Nelson told Smith after the game. “You made the Top 10 and Not Top 10 on the same play!”
• Shaquille O’Neal, wearing a blue Los Angeles Dodgers sweatshirt, sat courtside. He received cheers when the videoboard showed him with 8:24 to go in the first half.
• Khloe Kardashian, who is the wife of Clippers forward Lamar Odom, attended the game. So did Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
• Magic center Nik Vucevic finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds. The Clippers’ public-address announcer continuously mispronounced his last name as voo-SEV-itch or voo-CHEV-itch. It should have been pronounced VOOCH-a-vitch.
• Orlando’s Arron Afflalo was whistled for his second technical foul of the season.
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.