The Orlando Magic look to get back on the right track when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers Sunday night. It’s been ugly for the Magic lately. They’ve lost four straight games and are 0-2 on their current road trip. A game against the young Clippers, who start three rookies, could be exactly what they need.
The Clippers have shown signs of improvement but you can’t tell by their record – they’re just 5-19 and have have lost four of their last five games, including back-to-back one point losses. They lost 87-86 to the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night and fell to the Memphis Grizzlies 84-83 Saturday night. The Magic lost their fourth straight game in Utah Friday night and fell to 15-8 on the season.
The game will be shown locally by Sun Sports. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
Tip off from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California is scheduled for 9:30 pm EST.
The Line: Orlando – 8.0
The officials will be Joe Crawford, Tony Brown and Tre Maddox.
Opponent To Watch: Blake Griffin, PF – After missing all of last season, the 2009 #1 overall pick has been an absolute monster this season. He has a highlight reel dunk every night and is putting up huge numbers – 20.0 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. The front runner for the Rookie Of The Year Award should give the Magic a lot of problems. If the Magic want to keep Dwight Howard out of foul trouble, they can’t play Rashard Lewis at the 4 and expect him to guard Griffin. Brandon Bass will likely start at the 4 again and match up with Griffin. Bass struggled against Paul Millsap Friday night, allowing him to score 20 first half points.
What To Watch For: It’s been ugly for the Orlando Magic so we’ll have to see how they react to the adversity they’ve face recently. They’re healthy (except for Ryan Anderson, who would probably be used against bigger teams like Utah and Los Angeles) and they need to raise their game. I’m not one to press the panic button, but a fifth straight loss against a team who’s won only 5 games this year would cause a lot of panic among Magic fans. It’s clear this team needs some sort of spark and probably needs to make a move but this is not a game they should lose regardless of that situation.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com) and ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).