AP Photo/John Raoux
After 21 years, it’s ironic — props to Matt Guokas and David Steele for pointing this out in their television broadcast — that the Orlando Magic played the Philadelphia 76ers in the final regular season home game at Amway Arena. Why? Because the “godfather” of the Magic, Pat Williams, had ties with the 76ers way back when as their former general manager. And Guokas, Orlando’s first head coach in 1989, also had Philadelphia connections as a player and a coach. So, it’s fitting on a night where fans reminisced on the good times at the O-Rena that the Magic defeated the Sixers by the score of 125-111 to officially clinch the overall No. 2 seed and secure themselves home-court advantage against any team they would potentially face in the NBA Finals from the Western Conference, if they got that far. Orlando’s starting backcourt was outstanding, as Vince Carter had 17 points and six assists while Jameer Nelson had 21 points and four assists. Dwight Howard chipped in with 15 points and 12 rebounds but more importantly, secured his name in the record books by becoming the first player in NBA history to lead the league in blocks and rebounds for a second consecutive year. Plus, Orlando broke the record set by the 2005-2006 “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns for the most threes made (841) in a season. Two impressive accomplishments, without a doubt.
With the win, the Magic finish the regular season with an identical 59-23 record as last year.