Basketball: Los Angeles Clippers turn up the defence against Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic centre Mo Bamba (5), guard Evan Fournier (10), and Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell (5) and forward Tobias Harris (34) all go for a rebound in the first half of the game.
Orlando Magic centre Mo Bamba (5), guard Evan Fournier (10), and Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell (5) and forward Tobias Harris (34) all go for a rebound in the first half of the game.PHOTO: REUTERS/ USA TODAY SPORTS

(Reuters) The Los Angeles Clippers played one of their best defensive games of the season to beat the Orlando Magic 106-96 at home Monday (Jan 7) morning (Singapore time).

The Clippers are 24th in defence, giving up an average of 114.7 points per game, but they held the Magic to 37.1 per cent shooting from the floor. It was the lowest point total for a Clippers opponent in 30 games, dating back to a 120-95 win on Nov 2 - also against Orlando.

Tobias Harris had 28 points and nine rebounds, and Lou Williams scored 17 off the bench for the Clippers, who have won six of their last nine.

Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 24 rebounds in the loss. The Magic have lost three of their last four, and seven of their last 10 games.

Los Angeles trailed the entire first half, but gained the lead in the third quarter and turned it on in the fourth.

The game was tied at 72 with 10:22 left in the fourth, but the Clippers outscored the Magic 34-24 the rest of the way.

The Clippers grabbed the lead early in the third quarter, when Marcin Gortat hit a jumper to make it 50-49 with 10:12 left in the third. Los Angeles extended its lead to 10 points until Orlando closed the gap with a 14-7 run at the end of the third.

Orlando's 15-point lead early in the second quarter dwindled to a 47-45 lead by halftime. Both teams shot less than 40 per cent from the field in the first half.

Orlando steadily built a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter and scored seven straight points early in second to take a 35-20 lead. But Harris scored 10 straight as part of an 18-4 run that brought the Clippers back into the game.

Vucevic already had a double-double by halftime with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Orlando made only 4 of 15 of its three-pointers in the first half.

The Magic play the second leg of a back-to-back Monday in Sacramento, and then finish up their six-game road trip Wednesday in Utah. The Clippers host Charlotte on Tuesday and play five of their next six games at home.