The Orlando Magic will begin a five-game west coast road trip on Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Back in November, the Magic defeated the Clippers 98-90 and in so doing ruined the homecoming for former Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick.
However, neither team enters Monday’s match up with the same lineup intact. Magic forward Tobias Harris was still recovering from the sprained left ankle, while the Clippers will be without Chris Paul, who suffered a right shoulder sprain on Jan. 3.
Nikola Vucevic will once again be a game time decision against the Clippers. Vucevic sprained his left ankle on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors and has missed the last two games for the Magic.
— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) January 6, 2014
The young center dominated the Clippers front line consisting of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin back in November, scoring 30 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. If Vucevic does not play on Monday, it will force Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn to play the 6-foot-7 Jason Maxiell. The lack of height will make it almost impossible for the Magic to score in the paint. Jordan is one of the best shot blockers in the NBA averaging 2.25 blocks per game. Vucevic has a beautiful mid-range jump shot that will force Jordan to leave the paint and could result in the Magic being able to score in the paint.
Attack the point guard position
Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the NBA and in his place the Clippers will turn to Darren Collison. Collison is a solid point guard who has the ability to score and is an above average defensive player at the point guard position. However, there is no replacing the incredible passing abilities of Paul, who has always had the ability to get the most out of his teammates.
Magic point guard Jameer Nelson is coming off his best game of the season against the Miami Heat on Saturday. Nelson scored 21 points and was 5-for-8 from the 3-point line and could have another big game tonight.
The Orlando Magic have struggled with its half court offense all season. However, in transition, the Magic can run any team ragged and that was no more telling than in Saturday’s match up against the Heat. The Magic scored 27 fast break points to the Heat’s eight fast break points and the Magic should look to run at every opportunity against the Clippers.
The Clippers also like to get out in transition and will test the Magic’s transition defense, which must be on par, if the Magic are going to be able to run with the Clippers.
Tip-off from Staples Center is set for 10 p.m.