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Magic snap losing streak, beating the Clippers 104-101

LOS ANGELES — The sound of clapping filled the Orlando Magic locker room Saturday afternoon.

Then the players yelled, "Together!"

For the first time since Dec. 19, they had a win to cheer about. Finally.

The Magic had broken their excruciating 10-game losing streak, and they did it against one of the top teams in the NBA, shocking the Los Angeles Clippers 104-101 at Staples Center.

"The guys in the locker room that have 'Magic' across their chests, they deserve this win," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We've been playing extremely hard, and the greatest thing is there was no division along the way. We stayed together. We fought together."

And on Saturday they won thanks to big performances by their top wings, J.J. Redick and Arron Afflalo.

Redick made three key plays in the final 42 seconds, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer, taking a charge and making a pass out of double-team that led to the game's final basket.

"I'll be honest," Redick said. "it feels good, but one win doesn't erase 10 in a row. We're still pretty far behind the 8-ball right now."

Afflalo scored 30 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists. He also guarded Clippers point guard Chris Paul down the stretch and slowed Paul just enough.

Afflalo had taken the losses hard.

"It definitely feels better," he said. "When you go through a losing streak like that, the worst feeling is to become accustomed to it. So winning tonight was huge for us just to get that feeling of winning again. That's the most important thing."

When it ended, Afflalo reminded his teammates, especially the younger ones, of the old coaches' chestnut, 'One win only counts once in the standings.' "

Orlando (13-23) would have to stage a surprising turnaround to vault itself back into the playoff picture.

Los Angeles (28-9) entered the day in a two-way tie atop the Western Conference standings.

The Clippers aren't there anymore — not after the Magic dealt them their first home loss since Nov. 26.

"It doesn't sit well at all," Clippers power forward Blake Griffin said. "This was a bad loss, not to take anything away from them because they played well and they always play hard."

Griffin should feel upset. He dominated the first three quarters, scoring 30 points on 15-22 shooting. Then in the final period, he played six minutes and didn't take a shot.

In four of their prior five losses, the Magic allowed fourth-quarter leads to evaporate.

They flipped the script Saturday. They trailed by eight points with 4:43 to go, then came back.

A driving layup by Redick tied the score 99-99 with 1:48 left.

About a minute later, after a key offensive rebound by Nik Vucevic, Redick received the ball at the top of the arc, pump-faked to prompt Matt Barnes to jump, then stepped left and swished a 3-pointer to put Orlando ahead 102-99.

After Paul hit a jumper and the Magic missed a shot, Redick made another crucial play as the Clippers sprinted down the court with a chance to take the lead.

Redick drew a charge on Jamal Crawford with 12.9 seconds remaining.

"You know what I mentioned first in that locker room," Vaughn said afterward, a smile on his face. "Unbelievable to step in, sacrifice your body and take a charge."

On the ensuing possession, two Clippers players trapped Redick near the midcourt stripe. Redick passed out of the double team to Josh McRoberts, who passed to Vucevic wide-open down low. Vucevic's slam gave Orlando a 104-101 lead with 8.1 seconds left.

Crawford missed a potential game-tying 3 as time expired.

"That's a tough team," said Jameer Nelson, who finished with 11 points and nine assists on a poor shooting afternoon. "One thing we did, we showed great resolve and just continued to fight and play."

They did it together.

jbrobbins@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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