The post-All Star break seemed like an opportunity for the Orlando Magic to get healthy and have seen the return of a couple of its key players in the process. With Nikola Vucevic back in the fold, Orlando looked to turn things around in Philadelphia on Saturday night in its second game back from the All Star break.
Stopping the 76ers on the defensive end, however, has become the Magic’s glaring issue in the two games as Philadelphia center Joel Embiid scored a game-high 28 points and collected 14 rebounds and Orlando fell 116-105 at the Wells Fargo Center. The Magic now drop to 18-41 on the season and are currently 14th in the Eastern Conference standings.
”I thought they just played harder,” Orlando guard Evan Fournier said about the loss. ”It took us basically a quarter and a half to respond … and we lost our rhythm.”
Fournier, who ended the night scoring 16 points, was one of four Orlando players who ended the evening in double figures. Also scoring in double digits was Aaron Gordon (20 points), Vucevic (15 points) and Mario Hezonja (13 points).
Despite Orlando’s core group of players performing well, the Magic were not able to control the paint, with Philadelphia owning the glass at a 45-33 advantage on rebounds. The 76ers had nine offensive rebounds, which provided some second chance opportunities on the night.
Former Orlando Magic guard JJ Redick, who now plays for Philadelphia, had a good game against his old employer. The Duke product dropped in 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Second-year guard Ben Simmons also had a nice game for the 76ers, scoring 17 points and adding seven assists.
”In the playoffs you need a bench to come in and keep it up for the starters to finish it,” Embiid said about the starters.