A new ‘Big 3’ has been created and it resides out of the city of brotherly love in Philadelphia, with the 76ers acquiring perennial NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves last week. The trade shocked those around the NBA and it was announced that Butler’s debut with the 76ers would come against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center.

Nikola Vucevic and crew decided to give Butler a proper debut, as the Magic center had one of his best games of the season and scored a team-high 30 points and botched eight rebounds in Orlando’s 111-106 victory over Philadelphia Wednesday night. It would be a clutch 3-point shot by small forward Terrance Ross that put the dagger in the 76ers. Coming off a 117-109 loss to Washington, the Magic needed a good bounce back win.

“They just made a big trade and we knew they were probably going to be very fired up to come in and play well,” said Vucevic. “We stayed poised for 48 minutes. We got down 16 and we kept fighting. Getting stops was the big thing.”

With the victory, the Magic improve to 7-8 on the season and take the floor again Saturday night at the Amway Center when they welcome LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers into town. James led the Lakers to a 126-117 victory over the Portland Trailblazers Wednesday night by scoring 44 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out nine assists.

It would be Vucevic that proved to be the difference maker throughout the contest, as the Orlando center did a great job guarding Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid, who ended the night shooting 6-of-20 from the field and notching 19 points on the evening. In Butler’s debut with the 76ers, the small forward ended the night scoring 14 points.

Orlandi power forward Aaron Gordon also has himself a nice evening, scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebound. He was matched up most of the evening against Ben Simmons, who was held to just nine points.

About The Author

Andy Villamarzo has covered high school and youth sports for the Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune as a correspondent since 2008. He is a native of Holiday, FL, who graduated from Gulf High School and studied at St. Petersburg College. He has covered various prep, collegiate and professional athletes throughout his writing career, including Josh Johnson (Jacksonville Jaguars), Patrick Schuster (Arizona Diamondbacks) and currently writes for other publications like The Suncoast News, Friday Night Football Magazine and TopDrawerSoccer.com.

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