John Geliebter/USA TODAY
When someone is in a slump, you have to point it out. When they come out of that slump, you have to point it out.
Jameer Nelson was that player in a slump. He has said time and time again, he was not worried about his own individual statistics (h/t Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post) but rather getting wins. For the Magic to turn the game against the 76ers on the road and snap a 16-game road losing streak that dated to December.
Nelson scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, making seven points in a row early on in the quarter to help the Magic gain a little distance. Orlando overcame a slow start on the offensive end and some lackadaisical defense before the team pulled away and secured a 101-90 win over Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.
This was nowhere near the prettiest game. Some of Nelson's shots early on in the game — an airballed floater that was two feet short? — were indicative of that. The ball was pinballing across the floor and off hands as the Magic seemed in a hurry to try to get to the rim or too stagnant to do more than take a mid-range jumper.
Philadelphia turned those misses and long rebounds into fast break opportunities. That is how the 76ers want to play. And the Magic are not the best at rotating back to the 3-point line after the defense collapses. Orlando committed 12 turnovers, but only four came in the second half. Philadelphia scored 20 of the team's 25 fast break points in the first half.
Orlando's effort and aggressiveness changed and the team seemed much more composed and much more collected in the second half.
With some strong defensive play in the paint — Orlando blocked 10 shots — Orlando started to gain some distance and pull away. That is where Nelson's sudden re-emergence after nearly a month of hibernation offensively.
Nelson started his run with a long 3-pointer and the light switch was turned on. He attacked the basket for a floater and made a jumper. Things were starting to roll for him. It spread somewhat to the rest of the team as Orlando opened a double-digit lead and held on without much more of a threat from Philadelphia.
The Magic shot 12 for 18 from the floor in the fourth quarter and made five 3-pointers. The Sixers could not keep their offense going with Michael Carter-Williams bottled up all night by Victor Oladipo's defense and the fact his team just isn ot very good at hitting jumpers. The 76ers went cold and could not break the cold snap.
That is typical for this Sixers team which, despite the pace at which they play, is still near the bottom of the league in many offensive categories.
Philadelphia shot 36.2 percent for the game as the Magic's defense bounced back from Tuesday night's struggles. The Magic did a great job defending in the half court and keeping the Sixers bogged down. This is, frankly, a Philadelphia team that is going to struggle more often than not.
Orlando's big scorers had their offensive struggles too. But they found a way in the end.
Victor Oladipo was aggressive on his way to 17 points and 11 rebounds. Maurice Harkless followed up his 22-point performance Tuesday with 13 points on Wednesday, just his second occurrence of back-to-back games with 10 points or more this season. NIkola Vucevic led the Magic with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
The Magic got contributions from everyone to pull out this win.
It was Nelson's spark though that propelled the Magic to comfort (finally) on the road. It seemed everyone just needed to get the monkey off their back.
After the game, you could tell the Magic were much happier to be traveling home with a win.