Culture of Hoops

Orlando Magic Fend Off Late Surge to Defeat the Philadelphia 76ers, 103-98

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

The Orlando Magic have been playing some solid basketball under interim head coach, James Borrego. Since he took over, the Magic have held opponents under 100 points in five straight games, winning three of them. That trend would continue as the Philadelphia 76ers became the sixth opponent to fail to score 100 against Orlando, falling 98-103.

The opening quarter feature a lot of offense and nonexistent defense as both teams shot the ball over 60 percent. The Magic went to their bigs early and often as both Nikola Vucevic and Channing Frye got things going for Orlando, erasing a quick 5-0 76er lead. Frye made his first five shot attempts in the quarter, while Vucevic kept the Magic’s offense going steady. Both would combine for 20 of the Magic’s 29 first-quarter points entering the second with a 29-33 edge.

Using the three-ball, the 76ers closed the gap quick, fast, and in a hurry against the Magic, erasing the six-point deficit before the unfortunate injury to Jeremi Grant in the second quarter. Willie Green, who’s been playing good basketball as of late, got himself going with nine points and a Sports Center top-ten worthy breakaway dunk  you can view below. The Magic would enter halftime with a lead for the first time under James Borrego, leading the 76ers 55-47.

The third quarter would have the Magic’s prints all over it as the three-ball deserted the visiting team. While the 76ers were trying to claw back in the game, Nik Vucevic tormented his former club with jump shots, post moves, and tip-ins. At one point, the Magic doubled up on the 76ers in points in the paint, scoring 40 points in the paint. The Magic would lead 76-69 heading into the fourth.

With the game seemingly in the bag for the Magic, the team got a bit loosey-goosey against the 76ers. Isaiah Canaan and JaKarr Sampson made some timely jump shots, including big threes from both players to make the game uncomfortably close for the home team. The 76ers also managed to disrupt the Magic’s flow by intentionally fouling Elfrid Payton a couple of times. It worked once when Payton missed both free-throws, but he made amends by nearly stealing the ball and making both of his free-throws in the next trip back to the free-throw line. With a chance to get back within two, Vucevic stepped up to block a crucial three-pointer from Isaiah Canaan and the Magic would win their third consecutive game.

JaKarr Sampson and Robert Covington both led the 76ers with 16 points. Isaiah Cannon chipped in with 14. Hollis Thompson had 12, while Nerlens Noel finished with 10.

For the Magic, Nik Vucevic blazed the way with 31 points and 14 rebounds. Victor Oladipo had 17 on the night. Willie Green had a very solid 16 points, along with Channing Frye who put up 15 points. Elfrid Payton, who just recently turned 21, flirted with a triple-double once again with 10 points, seven assists, and eight rebounds.

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