The Los Angeles Clippers will be hard-pressed to top their Tuesday performance when they visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Down by 35 points just before halftime against the host Washington Wizards, the Clippers matched the second-biggest comeback in NBA history by rallying for a 116-115 win.Los Angeles never led until Luke Kennard completed a four-point play with 1.9 seconds remaining.
"I'm never gonna give up," Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said postgame. "You always try to fight and keep pushing through, and I want to instill that in these guys and a lot of these guys have that."
Jay Scrubb, who contributed eight points off the Los Angeles bench, added, "I knew we (were) going to win this game the whole time. Was just a matter of when they would let us back in."
Los Angeles pulled off the improbable result thanks to Amir Coffey's career-high 29 points and Kennard's 25 points.
Although they are riding a high into Orlando, the Clippers still have alternated wins and losses over their past six games, a pattern befitting their 24-25 season record.
The Magic, meanwhile, have just two wins in their past 16 games, but one of those victories came in their latest outing. They whipped the visiting Chicago Bulls 114-95 on Sunday in one of their best all-around performances of the season.
Orlando owns just one winning streak this season, a two-game run on Dec. 18 against the Brooklyn Nets and Dec. 22 against the Atlanta Hawks.
The result against the Bulls ended the Magic's nine-game home losing streak and was Orlando's largest margin of victory this season. The Magic had an 18-point triumph over the Timberwolves on Nov. 1 in Minneapolis.
Five of Orlando's nine wins came when rookies Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs joined Wendell Carter Jr., Mo Bamba and second-year guard Cole Anthony in the starting five. Of the 18 different starting lineups utilized by head coach Jamahl Mosley, Orlando is 5-11 using that youthful group.
Three quick fouls sent Bamba to the sideline in the first quarter against Chicago. He played just seven minutes and is listed as questionable for Wednesday due to a sprained right ankle.
"You have (Bamba) being able to protect the rim at times," Mosley said postgame Sunday. "I know there's a couple fouls early on that caused some problems, but again that group and their chemistry of being able to play off and with one another is really something exciting that you can move forward with and grow with."
Orlando's Moe Wagner provided an immediate lift off the bench against Chicago with key reserve R.J. Hampton (knee) and top-six scorers Terrence Ross (knee) and Gary Harris (back spasms) all unavailable.
The 6-foot-11 center scored 15 first-half points as the Magic built a 53-37 lead. He finished with 23 of Orlando's 51 bench points, hitting 9 of 13 field-goal attempts and all four of his free throws in 25 minutes.
Hot shooting was a key for the Clippers late in the Tuesday game, as Los Angeles sank 59.1 percent from the floor while outscoring the Wizards 40-22 in the fourth quarter.
The win left the Clippers 2-2 at the midpoint of an eight-game road swing.
Los Angeles has been without Kawhi Leonard as he recovers from a torn ACL, while leading scorer Paul George has not played since Dec. 22 due to an ulnar collateral ligament tear in his right elbow. Marcus Morris Sr. (personal reasons) also missed the Washington game.
The Clippers won their first matchup of the season against the Magic, prevailing 106-104 in Los Angeles on Dec. 11 thanks to Reggie Jackson's game-winning jumper with 2.2 seconds left.
--Field Level Media