Magic Beat 76ers 125-111

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The Orlando Magic finished the regular season with a 125-111 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. It was Orlando’s sixth straight victory and their 59th win of the season (they were also 59-23 last season). The Magic built a 17-point lead by the end of the first quarter, relaxed late in the second quarter and early in the third, then dominated the remainder of the third quarter, putting the game away. Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 21 points while Marreese Speights was the game’s leading scorer, finishing with 23 points for the 76ers.

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The entire Magic team came out on fire in the first quarter, posting some ridiculous numbers. They wee 15-of-18 from the field, made five 3-pointers and posted an effective field goal percentage of 97.2% in the opening quarter. The Magic held the 76ers to 42.1% shooting from the field and outrebounded Philadelphia 11-3. Orlando was able to build a 37-20 advantage by the time the first quarter was over.

Andre Iguodala was surprised the Magic missed at all in the first quarter.

“They just made a lot of shots,” Iguodala told reporters. “I don’t think they missed a shot in the first quarter. They just got in rhythm and they give a lot of teams problems.”

Orlando, as they often do, relaxed and let the 76ers get within 10 in the third quarter before elevating their play and blowing the 76ers out.

Before the game, Vince Carter thanked the fans for coming, then told the Magic fans that he wanted 16 more games in the
building (I don’t think the Magic would like every series to go seven games but Carter got his point across). Carter followed up his pregame speech to the fans by keeping them on their feet. Carter made his first four shots and finished the first quarter with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including three 3-pointers. Carter also dished out three assists and grabbed two rebounds. Carter finished the game with 17 points, six assists and three rebounds. Carter looked like he was using the game as a tune-up for the postseason and said as much after the game.

“There’s no rush (in getting ready for the playoffs),” Carter said. “There’s no rush. I’m not an impatient person. Just try and accomplish what we need to do, fine-tune things to get ourselves prepared.”

Jameer Nelson was equally as effective. Nelson finished with 21 points. He shot the ball extremely well (9-of-13 from the field, 3-of-5 from downtown), got his teammates involved (four assists) and ran the pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard to near perfection at times.

Speaking of Howard, he scored 15 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and became the first player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounds and blocks two years in a row. Howard was 6-of-8 from the field and also finished first in the league in field goal percentage. That guy’s pretty good, isn’t he?

After the game, Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy was happy with a 59-23 season, but unhappy with Orlando’s defense.

“I would’ve liked to have seen us play better defense,” Van Gundy said.

Van Gundy did mention that it was hard to play good defense because the points came so easy.

“I would’ve liked the game to have been played differently but we played it well offensively,” Van Gundy told reporters.

Van Gundy also told the media that he congratulated the Magic on an impressive regular season, noting that they did not lose a series to any team, had three players play in all 82 games (Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, and Jason Williams), had three players set career-highs for games played (Marcin Gorat, Mickael Pietrus, and Matt Barnes) and won in every single arena in the Eastern Conference.

“I just took a minute in there after the game, you know before the playoffs to just congratulate them on a great regular season,” Van Gundy said.

Game Notes:

  • The Magic went 23-0 when shooting over 50 percent from the field.
  • The Magic’s six game winning streak is the longest winning streak to end a season in franchise history.
  • Dwight Howard had a league-leading 64 doubles-doubles this season.
  • Orlando swept the 76ers for the second straight season and have not lost to Philadelphia since February 27th, 2008.
  • Marcin Gortat had a season-high 16 points.
  • The Magic have reported 68 consecutive sell-outs.

Next Up: The Magic will host the Charlotte Bobcats in game one of their first round series on Sunday evening at 5:30 pm EST.

Final Thought: It was a great regular season for the Magic but now it’s time for the real fun to begin. Vince Carter said it best after the game – “And now it’s time to go.”

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).