Jameer Nelson burned the Los Angeles Clippers throughout the first half Wednesday night.
Driving layups, 3-pointers, a no-look pass — Nelson resembled an all-star on offense as he piled up 18 points and three assists.
It didn't last, not with injuries preventing the Orlando Magic's top three scorers from playing. Without needing to account for those missing players, the Clippers eventually recalibrated their defense and stopped Nelson cold.
The Clippers held the diminutive point guard scoreless in the second half and beat the Magic 86-76 at Amway Center. The defeat extended the Magic's losing streak to 11 games, the franchise's longest losing streak since it lost 13 straight at the end of the 2004 season.
"It's tough for us right now," Nelson said. "We all understand that it's something that we have to stick together through and get out of together. We're not going to do it with just one guy or a couple of guys. It's going to have to be everybody."
On Wednesday night, the Magic (14-35) just didn't have enough offensive firepower.
Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick missed the game because of nagging injuries. Glen Davis continues to recover from surgery to repair a fractured foot. And flu-like symptoms prevented Hedo Turkoglu from playing.
In the second half, the Clippers (35-16) aggressively met Nelson whenever he turned the corner on pick-and-roll plays. They also double-teamed him. And when Magic coach Jacque Vaughn inserted Ish Smith into the game at point guard and shifted Nelson to shooting guard, L.A. countered by assigning 6-foot-7 Matt Barnes to guard the 6-foot Nelson.
Nelson made six of his 11 shot attempts in the first half.
In the second half, he went 0 for 5 from the field.
"That was a great call by our coaching staff to kind of blitz him and the awareness of our team to get the ball out of his hands," said Clippers center Ryan Hollins, who came off the bench to score 13 points and grab eight rebounds.
"With Arron and J.J. out, we knew he had to score more. We knew it was going to be kind of tough for him to keep up that pace."
Los Angeles had injury issues of its own.
All-star starters Chris Paul and Blake Griffin sat out the game, as did sixth-man extraordinaire Jamal Crawford and guard Chauncey Billups.
But the Clippers received a game-high 27 points from Eric Bledsoe, who is starting at point guard in Paul's place.
"They weren't going to take it easy on us," Bledsoe said.
And Bledsoe and his teammates didn't take it easy on the Magic. The Clippers held the Magic to 34.5 percent shooting.
Nik Vucevic scored 15 points on 7-of-21 shooting and collected 14 rebounds.
"It's not easy, but we're all competitors on this team," Vucevic said. "We don't have the guys that are hurt, but the guys who can [play] are ready to play. We really played hard, I thought."
Rookie Kyle O'Quinn added 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench, giving the team one of its lone bright spots.
"He's telling Coach that he wants to play some more," Vaughn said. "It's a great sign, just his aggressiveness, going after the basketball, boxing-out, just being assertive. That's a good step forward for him."
The Magic now have lost 22 of their last 24 games.
O'Quinn said afterward that the team can regain its footing once its injury issues stabilize and the team regains its chemistry.
"Time will tell," O'Quinn said. "And, hopefully, it doesn't take too long."
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