[Orlando, FL] “Practice? We’re talking about practice. We are not talking about the game, when it really matters, we are talking about practice.”
These are the famous magical words of former Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson. Well, coming into tonight’s game with a record of 20 wins and 9 loses, it looks like these 76ers may have been doing just that, practicing.
On pace for their first winning season since the 2004-05 golden year, Philly may have found “the answer” to all their questions about how to win; it’s really quite simple, it’s called playing TEAM BALL.
Welcoming all-star Andre “Iggy” Iguodala and the Philadelphia 76ers to town tonight, the Orlando Magic (18-11) knew going into this game they would have their hands full, to say the least. But that’s something they are used to – just look how they handled the Miami Heat earlier this month.
With the game starting out with Dwight Howard winning the jump ball over Lavoy Allen (who?) then going down and opening the game with a pretty bank shot, it felt like the big man had finally decided to show up again (Howard’s last game, you may remember, he put up a pathetic 11 points and nabbed only four rebounds).
Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson taking it to the hoop
And after going up 18-6 in the first six minutes thanks to J-Rich and Anderson (again), it felt like this game might end up going the Magic’s way after all. Helping their cause was that it appeared as if t a high school team had kidnapped the actual 76ers.
Calling all cars: if you have any information on the whereabouts of a certain basketball team from Philadelphia, please contact the NBA.
At the end of the first quarter the score was Ryan Anderson 14, the Dr. Phillips JV girls basketball team 16. The Magic were up 29-16 after one.
This just in … the Philadelphia 76ers have been finally spotted at the Amway Center. The Sixers started off the quarter on an 11-6 run led by Louis Williams, cutting the lead down to 8 by the 7:36 mark. But before you knew it, the Magic had built the lead back up to a 12.
After the 76ers went on a little 8-2 run to bring it to within 6, everything seemed to fall apart for the visitors. The Magic went into the locker room at halftime leading 55-39.
First half leaders for the Orlando Magic: Ryan Anderson (14 points), Dwight Howard (13 points, 7 boards). Philly Cheese Mistakes: Louis Williams (11 points, 4 assists).
Going into the second half, the 76ers knew they had to change their strategy if they wanted a chance to win, and it appeared that they had figured it out early. Giving the ball to “Iggy” to see what this NBA All-Star could do, he put up 7 points in the first minute and a half.
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard rules the paint
But every shot Iggy hit, the Magic had an answer to – for much of the quarter, the Sixers never got closer than 10. But after a few hit shots and a couple of lucky bounces, the 76ers found themselves down by only four points (66-62) with 5:46 left in the third. Maybe I should eat that Philly Cheese Mistake now.
Then again Philly went stagnant, finding themselves down 9 after at the end of three quarters, 79-70. Anderson had 22 for the Magic at this point, and Iggy led the stooges with 15.
Not sure if the 76ers were just playing that bad, or if the Magic’s defense was that good – either way the Magic started off the fourth going up 84-71. They never looked back. After some more basket matching and plenty of three’s for the Magic, the final score: Orlando Magic 103, Philadelphia 76ers 87.
Wow, the Sixers looked extremely out of sync with each other, turning the ball over more than usual and playing sloppy. It was like watching a bad college team. If this is what they look like on a regular basis, Philly fans shouldn’t expect to win anything anytime soon.
And they had been doing great at the start of the season.
Leading the way tonight for the Orlando Magic was none other than Ryan Anderson with 27 (he’s now one of the best in the league). Also in double figures for the Magic: D12 had 17 points (somewhat disappointing) and 14 rebounds, Jason Richardson (14), Jameer Nelson (12), J.J. Redick (12) and Hedo Turkoglu with 11 (he needs to wake up).
The top point scorers for the 76ers were Louis Williams with 21 points and 7 assists, Andre “Iggy” Iguodala (15 points, 5 boards and 4 assists) and Elton Brand (13 points).
The Orlando Magic play their next game at home this Friday against the pesky Milwaukee Bucks. Matching up for the second time in a week, expect this one to have similar results as to the last time they played. Not much has changed other than Brandon Jennings‘ head continues to grow slightly as his stats continue to diminish (averaging just 10.3 ppg over the past 6 games).
Expect the Magic to win this one comfortably, especially with the way they have been playing as of late.
My Prediction: Magic 102, Bucks 91
PG – Even
SG – Magic
SF – Magic
PF – Magic
C – Magic
Bench – Magic
By: Mike Yesenko/Sunshine Slate
Images: Orlando Magic