Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
There’s not a lot of things the Orlando Magic are good at. The Magic struggle to score and they can’t play defense. If there’s one thing the Magic do well, it’s lose games.
Facing off against the Philadelphia 76ers, without the services of Jameer Nelson (bruised left forearm), J.J. Redick (sore right shoulder), Arron Afflalo (strained left calf), and DeQuan Jones (sore left ankle), Orlando was forced to play with a skeleton crew and the result was a 78-61 loss to the Sixers.
For the Magic, they tied a season-high with their 10th consecutive loss and have now lost 21 of their last 23 games. The 61 points were a season-low.
Playing short-handed, Orlando didn’t stand a chance in this game and that was evident in the first quarter as Philadelphia jumped out to a 22-6 lead. Not known as a fast-paced team, the Sixers used their transition offense (14 fast break points) to open up a double-digit lead against the Magic in the opening frame.
Nick “Swaggy P” Young led the charge for Philadelphia with his swaggy ways, scoring 10 of his 15 points in the first quarter — including a 360-degree dunk off a fast break.
Orlando tried to make a game of it, making things interesting by cutting their deficit to two points late in the second quarter. But you always got the sense that Philadelphia — with a considerable advantage in talent and depth — was in cruise control, knowing they could turn on the switch at any time and put the game away.
That switch turned on in the third quarter, as the Sixers effectively put the game away by increasing their lead to 16 points. Jrue Holiday was the architect of the scoring surge and he did it with his passing. He didn’t score a single point in the period, but that didn’t stop him from accounting for 13 of Philadelphia’s 18 points thanks to six assists.
On the flipside, the third quarter was a disaster for Orlando. Knowing that the Magic were lacking playmakers and shooters, the Sixers packed the paint and dared Orlando to beat them from the perimeter. The end result was an 11-point quarter for the Magic, in which they shot 4-for-19 from the floor (21.1 percent).
Needless to say, the final period was a merely formality, as Philadelphia cruised to a relatively easy victory over an overmatched opponent.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
On a night where Nikola Vucevic played in Philadelphia for the first time since being traded to Orlando as part of the Dwight Howard blockbuster, his counterpart — Spencer Hawes — thoroughly outplayed him (21 points and 14 rebounds).
LVP (Least Valuable Player)
As a team, the Magic scored a season-low 61 points on 84 possessions and shot a season-low 33.8 percent from the floor. In other words, it was a trainwreck performance.
After relinquishing a double-digit lead in the first half, the Sixers went on a 14-1 run midway through the third quarter to reopen their double-digit lead and put Orlando out of their misery.