It really wasn't that great of a game last night. I mean, I suppose it was great from the standpoint that it was close throughout, and probably entertaining for liberated fans on League Pass who had no allegiance to either team. But for us... there's no reason for this Magic team to have to eke-out a win against the 76ers. We're just supposed to be better than that. Here's a highlight reel, and here's the boxscore.
Andre Miller killed us with 23 points and 10 assists. Reggie Evans, a 46% foul shooter, hit 5-of-6 from the line and scored 9 points, almost double his season average. Louis Williams came off the bench and scored 20, and we had no answer for him. Think about that. We're supposedly a contending team, but we had no answer for Louis freakin' Williams?! Absurd.
Thank God for Hedo Turkoglu. He lead us in scoring for the seventh straight game and, for the third time this season, scored the winning points of the game. With the game tied at 106, Turk drove into the lane past Andre Iguodala, the 76ers' best player, who raked him across the arm. If you watch the highlights above, you'll see Turk exaggerate the foul by thwoing his arms up wildly, but his acting paid-off; maybe he learned after that loss against New Jersey last month, when he got hacked twice on late-game drives and didn't get the benefit of the whistle either time. As expected, Turkoglu nailed the ensuing two free throws. After two Philadelphia timeouts -- one to set-up the final play and another to prevent a five-second violation -- Dwight Howard stole Andre Miller's inbounds pass, and time expired.
Ricky at Sixers 4 guidos isn't too upset, though, calling it (emphasis his) "the best game of the season." He wants the 76ers to tank the rest of the season. More losses = more ping-pong balls in the draft lottery. It's nice that he's happy. Actually, he might be happier with his team losing than we are with our team winning, because damn, that was ugly. To wit:
- With James Augustine at home battling the flu, Pat Garrity was active for the Magic. He played 4 minutes and contributed 3 fouls. He also failed to dunk on Samuel Dalembert. Meanwhile, J.J. Redick was the only Magic player to receive a DNP-CD. Whuh?!
- Jameer Nelson: 7 minutes, 4 points, 0 assists, 2 turnovers in his first trip to Philadelphia since his father died. Brian Schmitz had a touching article in yesterday's Sentinel about Jameer's rough season.
- Dwight Howard had just 10 shot attempts. Give him the ball.
- All our starters scored in double-figures. Unfortunately, so did all theirs. Where Defense Doesn't Happen.
Yeah, that's a lot of negativity after winning a game to put us 12 games over .500 again, so I'll close by congratulating Carlos Arroyo and Maurice Evans for their solid play: a combined 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Arroyo added 5 assists and just 1 turnover. I'll take that from our starting backcourt any night, no matter who the players are.
The Magic travel to Indianapolis to take on the Pacers tonight. The preview for that one is coming up later today. EDIT: As promised, here's the preview.