Culture of Hoops

Orlando Magic beat Philadelphia 76ers, win back-to-back games

Nikola-Magic

The Orlando Magic hosted the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night, coming off of a win against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday. They looked to improve their record after a recent rough patch, as they lost seven of their last nine games before Philadelphia came to town. The Sixers kept the score close throughout the game and gave the Magic a battle. However, with a balanced scoring effort, the Magic came away with the win, their second in a row. The Magic were led by Nikola Vucevic in both points and rebounds, with 21 and 16, respectively, leading a balanced scoring attack with four starters in double figures.

In the loss, Thaddeus Young led Philadelphia with 26 points off the bench. Young missed the last three games while dealing with a family matter. Rookie Michael Carter-Williams contributed with 23 points, three assists and four steals. Other than those two, the only Sixer who scored in double figures was Evan Turner, who contributed with 17 points.

Orlando Magic Game Notes

Rookie Showdown

This match-up showcased two of the best rookies so far this season – Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and the aforementioned Carter-Williams. They were the second and eleventh overall picks, respectively, in the 2013 NBA Draft, so the spotlight was squarely on them in their first match-up as NBA players. Carter-Williams got the best of Oladipo in scoring tonight, scoring 23 to Oladipo’s 18. However, Oladipo filled the stat sheet. The former Indiana Hoosier contributed in all aspects of the game, adding five assists, five steals, three rebounds and a block.

Balanced Scoring

The Magic received great contributions from both its starters and reserves, with five players total scoring in double figures. Even though Vucevic led the team in scoring with 21, Glen Davis, Oladipo and Arron Afflalo closely followed Vucevic in the stat sheet, scoring 19, 18 and 18, respectively. With the team regaining its health and able bodies, Magic fans should be happy to see the team come together in this fashion and put on a show.

Andrew Nicholson chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds off the bench, continuing the elevated level of play that he has shown of late. Moe Harkless seemed to adjust to his new role off the bench well, scoring seven points and pulling down six rebounds. He attacked the basket and looked aggressive, as he took over a scoring role in the second unit. Harkless looked comfortable and this is something that can only help him develop and hone his game.

Jameer Nelson’s Injury

Starting point guard Jameer Nelson left the game in the second quarter, coming up limp after driving to the basket. The Magic intentionally fouled on the next possession to substitute Nelson out of the game. Shortly after, the Magic ruled that Nelson suffered a sprained left foot and he did not return to the game. It is unknown whether he will miss significant time because of the injury, but if he does, expect the Magic to give Oladipo and E’Twaun Moore extended minutes at point guard while Nelson recuperates. The team will have to make up for his 12.3 points and 6.3 assists if he misses extended time.

Stat of the Night

Nikola Vucevic started the game hot, making his first eight shots and eventually finished the game only missing three shots. He was able to rack up 17 points and 10 rebounds by halftime and was active all night for the Magic.

The Road Ahead

The Magic take the court after a Thanksgiving off-day, welcoming the San Antonio Spurs to the Amway Center on Friday. The 76ers also play their next game on Friday, as they welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to Philadelphia.

Image courtesy of RMTip21/Flickr

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