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With Harden watching, Clippers take control in 3rd quarter to beat Magic

Russell Westbrook Los Angeles Clippers Russell Westbrook - The Canadian Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George scored 27 points, Russell Westbrook added 18 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Orlando Magic 118-102 on Tuesday night as future teammate James Harden watched from a suite.

Harden could not be on the Clippers’ bench because the trade bringing him to Los Angeles from the Philadelphia 76ers has not been finalized.

Harden and fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker arrived at the arena 75 minutes before tipoff. Harden was greeted by owner Steve Ballmer and then met with the Clippers in the locker room. The 10-time All-Star hugged Westbrook and George upon seeing them. Harden already has a locker with his new No. 1 Clippers blue jersey ready to be donned.

When asked by a reporter if he was excited about being traded to the Clippers, Harden said: “You don’t understand.”

The Clippers had only 11 players in uniform due to the pending trade, with nine seeing at least 18 minutes. Bones Hyland and Norman Powell added 18 points apiece.

Westbrook scored 16 points and George 14 in the third quarter. The Clippers trailed 50-47 at halftime before taking control by outscoring the Magic 41-21.

Paolo Banchero led Orlando with 15 points and Franz Wagner had 14 points and eight rebounds. Moritz Wagner scored 13 off the bench.

Orlando jumped out to a 38-29 advantage with 4:24 remaining in the second quarter before Los Angeles scored seven straight points.

The third period featured a 26-6 run by Los Angeles over nearly six minutes. It included a spurt of 10 straight Clippers points, eight supplied by George.

After shooting 33.3% from the floor in the first half, the Clippers were 17 of 23 in the third quarter.

Magic: Wrap up their four-game trip Thursday against Utah.

Clippers: Face the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday as the visiting team.