ORLANDO, Fla. — The Los Angeles Clippers‘ best players made their usual contributions Friday night. Lance Stephenson provided just enough of a boost late to ensure yet another victory.
Chris Paul had 21 points and six assists, DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 18 rebounds and the Clippers beat the Orlando Magic 107-93 for their fifth win in six games.
Stephenson hit all six of his shots and scored nine straight points in the second half to help turn back a Magic rally.
"I think I can help the team anywhere on the floor," said the 6-foot-5 Stephenson, who has been used at power forward in some recent alignments. "I’ve been in an attack mode since I’ve been playing the four."
He finished with 13 points in 19 minutes.
"Never in my wildest imagination did I see Lance Stephenson playing the four," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "We have found something. You can’t guard him at the four. You can’t put a four on him and every team that’s tried to do that, it has been good for us."
J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford each scored 20 points for the Clippers.
Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 18 points, and Evan Fournier scored 16 off the bench. Tobias Harris had 13 points and eight rebounds before leaving with an injury during the fourth quarter.
Orlando never led and gave up at least 107 points for the eighth straight game, including seven losses.
"Our whole mantra all season has been defence is going to carry us, and we’ve lost that side of the ball," Magic coach Scott Skiles said.
The Clippers shot 59 per cent in the first half and took a 55-44 lead despite 14 turnovers.
Oladipo and Harris combined for 17 points in the third quarter to help the Magic whittle the gap to 75-73. But Stephenson ended the quarter with a jumper from the corner for his first points of the game, and then scored the Clippers’ first seven points of the fourth quarter while they quickly regained a double-digit lead.
"Once I see that first shot go in, I get going," he said. "I feel like nobody in this league can guard me. I’ve been confident the last four or five games. I’ve got to stay with it and keep believing in myself."
Harris left the game with 10:46 remaining in the fourth after being hit inadvertently above the left eye by Oladipo, who was called for charging on the play.
In response to Commissioner Adam Silver’s comments that changes might be necessary to halt intentional fouling of poor free-throw shooters, Skiles said: "I understand esthetically, it’s something that the league is not fond of, but I think we need to be careful if we’re going to start legislating peoples’ weaknesses."
Said Rivers: "I don’t think I should have an opinion on it because it affects me (Jordan is one of the most hacked players in the NBA), but I just think it looks too disingenuous."
Clippers: G Austin Rivers sat out with a bruised left hand. … The Clippers are 16-4 without Blake Griffin. The star forward is out with a fractured right hand suffered when he punched an assistant equipment manager.
Magic: Orlando has lost 13 of 15 games in 2016. … G Elfrid Payton has scored in double figures only once in the last six games. He’s 17 for 46 (37 per cent) from the field during those games.
Clippers: Play at Miami on Sunday.
Magic: Play at home against Atlanta on Sunday.