“Help” is the word of the day.
As the Clippers roll into Amway Center tonight to square off against the Orlando Magic, ”HELP” should be emblazoned on the game programs. For all of the excitement and promise being (rightly) attached to the Clips, and while Blake Griffin has been a one-man wrecking crew, putting up 24.4 ppg and a tough 13.2 boards in his last 10 games, the reality is that they’ve lost 3 straight and 6 of those 10. Eric Gordon’s 24.1 ppg are missed more than ever; Randy Foye’s 16 ppg been more than serviceable filling in at shooting guard, but the Clippers will have to get more scoring and efficiency from it’s bench to pull off a win in Orlando. The key will be how Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy schemes to corral Blake Griffin; Ryan Anderson wants no part of Griffin 1-on-1. As for the Magic, maybe the Clippers and their weak road game (Clips are only 3-17 away from home. Yikes.) are just what the doctor ordered. Despite Dwight Howard’s Herculean efforts (22.4 ppg on only 13(!) shots, 13.7 boards, only Magic player who could defend his way out of a…well, he’s the only Magic defender), the Magic seem to be deflating, losing 3 of their last 4, with the last one being an 11 point dismantling at the hands of the East leading Celtics. SOmeone other than Howard is going to have to step up and produce; so far, he hasn’t had a consistent 2nd option to back him up. Orlando has feasted on teams with a losing record (24-4 against sub-.500 teams). The honeymoon is over for newly aquired players Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas, and unless they give more than the pitiable 1-17 showing they had in the loss to Boston. If Dwight Howard gets foul-plagued DeAndre Jordan sent to the bench early and starts finding the still-dangerous shooters Jason Richardson, JJ Redick, and Jameer Nelson against the Clippers’19th ranked D, it could be a long night for the Clippers in Orlando.