Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Sparked by Dwight Howard‘s return to the starting lineup, the Orlando Magic were able to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers by the score of 95-85 in a game that was more lopsided than the end result indicates. Although the win was meaningless in the sense that the Magic are locked in to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, it does give them a chance to finish the regular season at 52-30. That would give Orlando a stretch of four seasons under head coach Stan Van Gundy in which they finished with records of 52-30, 59-23, 59-23, and 52-30 — a symmetrical four-year stretch for those that are into that sort of thing. The Magic were led by a balanced attack, as four players scored in double-figures. Howard finished with a modest stat-line of 19 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and three blocks but he got the internet abuzz when he posterized Jrue Holiday in the third quarter on a fastbreak, easily one of the best dunks of the year in the NBA. The transition dunk was triggered after Jason Richardson scooped up a loose ball, zipped it up to Jameer Nelson, and from there it was showtime. Nelson eluded Holiday in the open court, then sprinted down the right side and lobbed the basketball up for Howard. For whatever reason, Holiday tried to intercept the pass but it was too late, as Howard caught the ball and dunked on Holiday with such anger, such fury, such hatred, that the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center awoke and responded with emotions involving disbelief and pleasure. For a split second, Holiday shared a timeless moment with Howard that will live on in infamy. Nelson’s return to the Philadelphia treated him well, as he finished with 19 points, seven assists, and two steals. Ryan Anderson continues to play at a high level, contributing with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and two steals in roughly 22 minutes of action coming off the bench as the sixth man. Richardson chipped in with 12 points, five rebounds, and three steals.