76ers 102, Magic 95: Orlando's Bigs Are Solid, But Philly Prevails

Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Philadelphia's scoring guards were too much for Orlando to handle, but the Magic at least got strong performances from its big men.

The Orlando Magic held their own against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday evening, but their second unit couldn't shut Philly's down in the final period, allowing the Sixers to escape Amway Center with a 102-95 victory. Philadelphia swingman Nick Young scored 12 of his 22 points in the final period and hit two three-pointers in the final three minutes to ice the victory for the Sixers, who were making their preseason début.

Point guard Jrue Holiday scored 19 of his game-high 27 points in the first half, helping get Philly off to a hot start before coach Doug Collins elected to turn the reins over to Holiday's backups; Holiday played only six minutes after halftime, and yet still managed to shoot 4-of-5 from the field for eight points.

Team Pace Efficiency eFG% FT Rate OReb% TO Rate
76ers 97.8 104.3 50.0% 20.0 20.5 15.3
Magic 97.8 97.1 46.8% 8.6 29.2 16.4
Green denotes a stat better than the team's 2011/12 average;
red denotes a stat worse than the team's 2011/12 average.

Orlando got double-doubles from its starting big men: Glen Davis put up 16 points and 12 boards, while Nikola Vučević made his presence felt by adding 12 points and 10 rebounds in only 20 minutes.

It was rookie forward Andrew Nicholson, however, who may have turned the most heads with his performance on Thursday. The St. Bonaventure product scored 14 points in 21 minutes and demonstrated the polished offensive game which made his senior season a standout one. Nicholson shot just 7-of-15 from the floor for his points and failed to earn a single free-throw attempt, so his efficiency leaves plenty to be desired. But he has sound offensive instincts, and once he learns to play at the NBA level, he ought to be a solid contributor.

Magic point guard E'Twaun Moore, who will presumably back up Jameer Nelson once the regular season begins, had a rough go of it. The Purdue product, signed as a free agent after one season with the Boston Celtics, missed 11 of his 13 shots and dished as many assists (four) as turnovers. He'll need to play more under control lest he lose that backup job to Ish Smith once Smith fully recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.

Gustavo Ayón, who came off the bench Thursday after starting in Sunday's exhibition opener, provided good energy and efficiency. Ayón tallied eight points, six rebounds, and a team-high-tying five assists in just 18 minutes. For his part, rookie center Kyle O'Quinn scored four points and snared four boards in his seven minutes of work.

Orlando's preseason continues Sunday in Cincinnati against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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