When discussing the town's NBA team that's had trouble closing out games in the fourth quarter, it's not really a strecth to put the Clippers in the same category as the Lakers. The difference has been (obviously) that the Lakers' late loss of leads has mostly resulted in victories, and when the Clippers do it, they get the opposite result. This was once again the case as they fell to the Magic by a score of 95-88 at Staples Center.
The Clippers started off slowly, and were dominated early by a Magic team who most believe are among the top five or six clubs in the league. Orlando jumped out to a 24-9 lead, before Baron Davis and Zach Randolph began to bring the team back to life. Randolph had 11 points in the second quarter, as the Clips turned a seven-point deficit into a six-point lead at halftime. Baron Davis' three-pointer to end the third quarter put L.A. up by nine, but Orlando quickly made sure that things didn't get any further out of hand.
The Magic went on a 10-0 run in the first two minutes and 20 seconds of the fourth period to take the lead, and continued their strong play to make it a 22-2 run to put the game completely out of reach. It was Dwight Howard's birthday, and he celebrated with an outstanding performance, finishing with 23 points, 22 rebounds, and six blocked shots.
The Clippers sit at just 4-17 in the standings, and it was pointed out to head coach Mike Dunleavy afterwards that he's heading the team with the worst record this season that has yet to fire its coach. Apparently though, he believes his job is safe.
"I don't think that's the case," Dunleavy said of the possibility of his being fired. "I think we're headed in the right direction. I think we've got a good group. We haven't had our whole group together all season, or in the preseason."