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8-15 FG | 1-3 FT | 2 BLK | 14 REB | 18 PTS | +21
Howard was the conduit by which the Magic systematically destroyed the Philadelphia 76ers’ defense. Offensively, Orlando centered its gameplan around pick-and-rolls with Howard as the anchor, as he aided Nelson and Turkoglu in their quest to drive-and-kick the Sixers to death. When Howard wasn’t too busy setting screens, he was getting his in the post (primarily against Nikola Vucevic).
9-12 FG | 7-10 3P | 1 STL | 2 REB | 27 PTS | +17
Poor Lavoy Allen. Filling in for injured Spencer Hawes and matched up against Anderson, Allen had no chance defensively. Before Allen could blink an eye, Anderson scored 11 points against him in the first quarter. That forced Doug Collins to call upon Thaddeus Young to defend Anderson for the remainder of the game. That didn’t pan out so well either for the Sixers.
5-10 FG | 4-5 3P | 2 STL | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +23
Richardson was quiet but efficient on offense. Outside of his layup in the first quarter on a screen-and-curl, with Howard setting a pin-down screen on the right block to free him up on the left side, all of Richardson’s field goals were three-pointers. The last of his three-point shots typified the Magic’s night, with it coming directly from a 1/5 pick-and-roll with Nelson and Howard.
5-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 14 AST | 4 REB | 12 PTS | +19
If Howard was the conduit that allowed Orlando to pick apart Philadelphia with ruthless efficiency offensively, Nelson was the table-setter. Time and again, he executed pick-and-rolls. Time and again, he dribble penetrated into the lane and probed the Sixers’ defense. Time and again, he found the open man on the perimeter. At the end, he accounted for 50 of the Magic’s 103 points.
Philadelphia is considered by some as a contender in the Eastern Conference because their point differential and efficiency differential rank among the elite in the NBA (the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Oklahoma City Thunder just to name the favorites). But as the saying goes, matchups mean everything and the Magic proved to have almost all the advantages in this game.
Eddy Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.