It had to happen at some point this season and in a disappointing night in the Amway the Magic tasted defeat to the Sixers.
The Magic’s winning streak came crashing to a halt last night as we lost for the first time this season. The Philadelphia 76ers steamrolled the Magic 116-92 in the Amway.
BEFORE THE TIP
The night was already going wrong for Orlando even before the opening tip. Terrence Ross (21 PPG) had been lost to a sore right hamstring. Mo Bamba was unable to feature having got hit in the head playing 2-on-2 at practice and wasn’t feeling his best.
THE OPENING QUARTER
The bad luck continued into that first quarter, encapsulated by the sight of Ben Simmons hitting a 3 with less than 4 minutes played. You already knew this wasn’t our night.
Markelle Fultz was having a stinker of a game. The team were throwing so many bricks you could have built a wall! Bad habits crept back in on shot selection, our offensive pace dropped and we saw moments were that much maligned two-man Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic game appeared.
The Sixers raced out to a lead that we never recovered from. To finish the quarter on an even lower note Orlando lost Evan Fournier for the rest of the game with back spasms.
A 38-22 score line looked already unrecoverable.
TO THE HALF
As the lead grew to 37 and the performance got more embarrassing I began to worry we could surpass the Clippers recently set record for a halftime deficit by a team. Thankfully (and I do mean thankfully) the halftime score was only 75-40!!
The Magic shot just 28.6% from the field and woeful 17.6% from 3-point range. Examples of this inability to score were Aaron Gordon going 0-4 from the floor, Markelle Fultz 1-8, Cole Anthony 2-8 and Michael Carter-Williams 2-7. They weren’t the only ones to be less than what we have seen so far this season.
Philly unfortunately were on fire with a field goal percentage of 56.3% and a brilliant 58.8% from downtown.
The final head shaking embarrassing stat of the half was that the 35 point deficit at halftime is the largest in Magic franchise history!
THE FINAL BUZZER
The game was effectively as good as over at halftime so we had to hope that we played for some pride. By the end of the 3rd Q we’d pulled the lead back by 6 and a further 5 by the final buzzer.
Joel Embiid and Seth Curry had both scored 21 points, Tobias Harris 20. Truth be told neither team played starters for a long period of the second half as the bench units and fringe players got minutes.
To finally illustrate how the night went for Orlando the pantomime villain that is Dwight (insert your own expletive) Howard hit a 3 pointer in the 4th quarter, only the 10th of his career.
MAGIC SILVER LININGS IN DEFEAT TO THE SIXERS
Ok I’m trying to find something here:
We won the second half.
Nikola Vucevic secured his 4th double-double of the season with a team leading 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Cole Anthony scored a career-high 16 points. He shot 5-18 from the floor, going 1-4 from 3 point distance and 5-5 from the free throw line.
Chuma Okeke hit a pair of 3’ s for his 6 points. Unfortunately Chuma limped off the court to make a bad night worse.
MOVING ON AND NOT BEING DOWN
Yes that was dire to watch. And yes it was embarrassing in points.
However…we have a season record of 4-1. How in defeat to the Sixers can we be upset at that? We have faced Miami and won. We have faced a much vaunted Washington team twice and won. Add OKC and a much fancied Sixers then a 3-2 record would have been acceptable, but we are over that at 4-1.
In sports some nights you get battered, nothing goes right and this was one. Hopefully it is an exception.
So time to move on, regroup and tend to those injuries.
Bring on OKC in the Amway and we go again! We face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.