Magic Defeat 76ers for Second Straight Win
Tonight at the Amway Center the Magic defeated Eastern Conference rival Philadelphia 76ers 113-100 despite playing without Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, or Big Baby Davis. The Magic showed great team energy and hustle, outrebounding Philadelphia 46-30 and 13-4 off the offensive glass. Ryan Anderson led the team with 26 points and 16 rebounds, and 6 players scored in double figures. Earl Clark, played 33 minutes off the bench, tied his career high in points with 14 and set a career high in rebounds with 11, Jameer Nelson scored 16 points and dished 13 assists, and JJ Reddick contributed 18, shooting 50% from three point range. Daniel Orton started at center for the first time in his NBA career, adding 6 points and 6 rebounds.
“I thought this game was great,” said Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy. “Our guys gave it everything they had. This was a tremendous team effort against a playoff team needing a win.”
This win solidifies the Magic’s hold on the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They now lead the seventh seeded 76ers by four and a half games with five to play. With only three games separating them from third-seeded Indiana Pacers, the Magic still have a chance to move to a higher seed if they can keep winning.
Magic forward Jason Richardson said the team talked about playing tonight with hustle and energy. “We said if you make a mistake, make a mistake going hard,” Richardson said.
The Magic made only 36% of their shots and fell behind 27-21 as 76er guard Jrue Holiday scored 12 points. The 76ers, one of the best defensive teams in the league, guarded Ryan Anderson closely at the three point line. He took advantage by rolling to the basket and getting 8 points in the quarter off offensive rebounds and put backs. He kept that up throughout the game.
Anderson said. “This is the way we can win games. We’re not a big team. We have to get those energy points and crash the boards like we did tonight.”
Quentin Richardson got the Magic going at the start of the second quarter when his steal led to a fast break basket and he followed that with a three point shot. Jason Richardson added more threes as well as some layups fed by crisp passes from Jameer Nelson. The Magic outscored the 76ers by 12 points in the second quarter to take a 61-55 lead at halftime. The Magic held the lead for the rest of the game, despite the 76ers efforts to chip away.
The 76ers cut the lead to seven, 106-97, at just under the two minute mark in the fourth quarter. Jameer Nelson sealed the victory by draining two jumpers in back-to-back offensive series. Nelson summed it up after the game, saying, “We played with a lot of heart tonight. We’re not in it for moral victories. We want to win.”
The Magic clinched a playoff spot last night in Cleveland. They are putting single game tickets for the first round of playoffs on sale to the general public this Friday, April 20, at 10:00 AM. They can be purchased online at www.orlandomagic.com, at the Amway Center Box Office, at Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX.