The Orlando Magic, without injured starters Ryan Anderson and Hedo Turkoglu, used a tremendous defensive effort, dominant rebounding, very good free throw shooting, and limited their turnovers to overcome a dismal 36.3% shooting percentage from the floor to top the Philadelphia 76ers, 88-82. It was a much-needed win to stop their first five-game losing streak in five years. This was the first time the Magic have won a game shooting no better than 36.3% in more than six years. The Magic had lost their previous 15 games while shooting 36.3% or worse. Dwight Howard, bothered by a sore back for the whole game, and who told ESPN's Lisa Salters afterwards that it was the worst pain he's ever been in since he came in the league, had his ninth 20/20 game of the season. Even though he shot a poor 4 of 14 from the field, he connected on 12 of 18 free throws, and added 6 assists, 2 blocks, a steal. The 6 assists was the third-most in a game in his career.
Glen Davis continued his outstanding play in the last week with a double-double of 23 points on 9 of 21 shooting along with 12 rebounds. Davis scored 15 of his points in the third quarter, and did not turn the ball over in 37 minutes. J.J. Redick, starting at shooting guard, snapped out a bad shooting slump with 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting, including 11 points in a 4:18 span of the fourth quarter, and did not turn the ball over in 41 minutes. Jason Richardson, starting at small forward in place of the injured Turkoglu, added 10 points. In a very rare occurrence, all five Philadelphia starters were held under 10 points, as they combined for 31 points on 13 of 44 (29.5%) shooting. The 76ers' bench, led by Thaddeus Young's 20 points, outscored the 76ers' starters 51-31.
The Magic held Philadelphia to 39.7% from the field, outrebounded the 76ers 53-41, including 17-9 offensively, outscored the 76ers 24-15 from the free throw line on 77.4% shooting, and turned the ball over just nine times. Watching the game, one couldn't help but notice how many times Howard grimaced throughout because of his back, but he sucked it up and played 44 minutes. No one could accuse Howard or the Magic of quitting in this game.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
The Magic were horrible in the second quarter, as they were outscored 26-13 by the 76ers, and shot just 4 of 20 (20%) for the quarter and 13 of 42 (31%) for the half. One couldn't help but wonder whether the Magic would just fold up and quit like it seemed they did against New York Thursday night under similar circumstances.
The Magic came out in the third quarter determined to come back from their deficit. They tied the game at 52-52 after a Richardson three with 5:33 remaining in the third and led 62-61 going into the fourth. The Magic's Davis was brilliant in the third, as he scored 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting and 3 of 3 from the free throw line. He scored on a variety of drives to the basket, a nice hook shot, and a jumper. The Magic outshot the 76ers in the third 47% to 32%.
The Magic had their largest lead of the game at 69-61 after a Howard bucket with 10:34 left in the game. The Magic would have to withstand one more Philly run, as the 76ers scored 12 of the next 15 points to grab the lead 73-72 after an Elton Brand basket with 6:26 remaining. That would be the final 76ers' lead, as Redick scored nine Magic points in a row as the Magic took the lead 82-76. Louis Williams cut the Magic lead to 82-80 after two free throws with 2:20 remaining. They fouled Howard intentionally four times after that, but Howard made 5 of the 8 free throws while the 76ers missed two baskets and two free throws as the Magic increased their lead to 87-80 on their way to a hard-earned 88-82 victory.
In the tightly contested Eastern Conference, the Magic (33-23) pick up a game on the Indiana Pacers (34-22), who lost to Boston (31-24). Atlanta (34-23) also picked up a win, as the Magic remain as the sixth seed, but only a game behind third-seed Indiana.
Other game notes:
-Magic reserve Quentin Richardson also missed the game due to a sore back.
-The Magic starters outscored the 76ers' starters 80-31.
-Jodie Meeks with 16 points and Louis Williams with 15 points completed the scoring from the 76ers' bench.
-Jameer Nelson struggled for the second straight game, shooting just 2 of 12 for 8 points with 3 assists.
-Chris Duhon scored 6 of the 8 points for the Magic reserves.
-The Magic held the 76ers to 37 second-half points on 14 of 37 (38%) shooting.