On a night when the Clippers lost another player after Austin Rivers suffered a concussion in the first half, they stayed the course under trying circumstances.
Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan took the mantle Wednesday when the dark cloud hovered, carrying the Clippers to a third consecutive win with a 106-95 victory over the Orlando Magic at Amway Center before 16,011 fans.
Williams scored 17 of his 31 points in the second half, doing much of his damage while Rivers was in the locker room getting treatment after taking an accidental elbow to his head from Orlando’s Jonathon Simmons with seven seconds left in the first half.
Jordan had 10 of his 16 points and nine of his 20 rebounds in the second half, doing his work while Rivers was being told he will not be able to play Friday night at the Washington Wizards because of the NBA’s 48-hour rule regarding concussions.
“I think these guys are just starting to be more comfortable. They understand we’re going to have some injuries and guys are going to be down,” said Williams, who made 11 of 22 shots and three of six from three-point range. “So they’re just playing with a lot of confidence. I think at first you’re kind of getting your feet wet and guys don’t want to make mistakes. Now guys are just going out there and playing as hard as they can.”
After the game in which he finished with nine points, Rivers lamented how the Clippers just keep dropping.
Danilo Gallinari played in two games after missing the previous 13 games with a strained left glute. But he suffered a glute injury against in the Toronto on Monday and will be out for a while.
Blake Griffin (left knee injury) is out until January and Patrick Beverley (right knee surgery) is out for the season.
At least Rivers, who will be re-evaluated after the Wizards game, should be back after one game.
“Yeah, we just keep going down, man,” Rivers said. “Next man up, I guess.”
Rivers was retreating on defense against Simmons, the two of them airborne when the Clippers guard went down from Simmons’ elbow to the head.
Clippers head athletic trainer Jasen Powell, coach Doc Rivers and several of the players stood over Austin as he tried to recover.
Eventually, he was helped to the locker room.
“I didn’t remember nothing when I got hit,” Rivers said. “It took me like 20, 30 minutes to get my memory back. I started remembering things slowly. But when I got hit, I didn’t know where I was at. I didn’t know what the score was. I didn’t know anything. So, they had to shut me down. Then as time went on, I started to remember a little bit here and there.”
The referees reviewed the play to see if a flagrant foul should have been called on Simmons.
It was ruled a common foul, and that upset Rivers.
“They called a foul on me,” Rivers said. “I cut him off, played good defense and he just hit me in the face. They gave the foul to me. Now they ain’t going to let me play the next game because of the 48-hour rule.”