Magic Stage Late Rally, Take Down 76ers In Overtime


The Orlando Magic finally returned home Wednesday night when they took on the Philadelphia 76ers. The Magic, who lost to the 76ers 97-89 back December 18th, presented a different look this time. In that game, they were without their four newcomers. This time, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu all played but it was Ryan Anderson who was the hero for the Magic. Anderson finished with 20 points and four rebounds, helping the Magic to a 99-98 overtime victory. Lou Williams again led the 76ers in scoring with 19 points off of the bench.

The Magic got off to another slow start, going just 5-of-15 from the field in the first quarter to fall behind 21-17 after one. In the second quarter, both teams shot much better. After shooting 7-of-18 from the field in the first quarter, Philadelphia shot 10-of-18 in the second quarter. The Magic went 11-of-20 from the field and took a 44-42 lead on Ryan Anderson’s three-pointer with 1:22 to play before allowing the 76ers to score the last six points of the quarter, ending the first half with a 48-44 lead. The Magic started the third quarter on a 7-2 run to take another one-point lead by a 14-6 Philadelphia run and the 76ers took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter.

The Magic started the quarter on a 10-2 run to regain the lead, 73-72. Philadelphia’s offense couldn’t get anything going in the fourth quarter, but missed opportunities by the Magic kept them in the game. After missing four free straight free throws, Dwight Howard fouled out with the Magic trailing by one and was called for a technical foul for delay of game. The Magic were able to bounce back, outscoring the 76ers six-to-one in the last 23 seconds, capped by a controversial four-point play by Jason Richardson. Philadelphia had 17 seconds left to try to win the game but Lou Williams’ three-pointer barely rimmed out, sending the game to overtime.

Much like Orlando’s contest with the New Orleans Hornets, the overtime period was back-and-forth. Jameer Nelson’s three-pointer 3:11 left gave the Magic a 95-92 lead with 3:11 to play. Four of Andre Iguodala’s six straight points came after the shot, giving Philadelphia a one-point lead but that was answered with a four-point play from J.J. Redick, putting the Magic up 99-96. Philadelphia was able to score and get the ball back but Iguodala’s shot rimmed in and out and Jameer Nelson came up with the ball as time expired, giving the Magic a 99-98 overtime victory.

You can read my thoughts from the game after the jump:

  • After a pretty good defensive performance in the first quarter, Orlando’s allowed the 76ers to score 49 points in the next two quarters and let the 76ers shoot 19-of-37 from the field during that span.  Orlando turned up the heat in the fourth period, holding Philadelphia to 20 fourth quarter points and eight overtime points, which pleased Van Gundy.
  • Gilbert Arenas continued to struggle and with him in the game during the first half, the Magic offense had no life. As soon as Jameer Nelson was re-inserted into the game, the Magic finally got things going on the offensive end. Nelson was aggressive, driving to the hoop as often as possible. To be fair to Arenas, he started the fourth quarter and helped the Magic get back into the game but Nelson was the story. He had some trouble finishing his drives but was very good at finding opponents open for the kick. Nelson finished with 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
  • Van Gundy was very happy with Nelson’s aggressiveness but still wants to see another one of Orlando’s ball handlers, Hedo Turkoglu, be more aggressive. Turkoglu had 12 points and four assists.
  • Something has to be said for the resiliency of this Magic team. They made up seven points in less than a minute in Charlotte a week ago and made up five points in just six seconds Wednesday night. Despite an awful shooting night, Jason Richardson still had enough confidence to drain a clutch three-pointer, which is something the rest of the league has gotten used to over the last few seasons.
  • Ryan Anderson was fantastic – he led the Magic in scoring with 20 points, scoring both inside and outside. He was much more aggressive, shown by his 15 shot attempts.
  • “Well Ryan Anderson killed us,” 76ers coach Doug Collins said. “The one he can do now is if you switch pick-and-roll he can get in there and post you.”
  • Following the game, I asked Van Gundy about Anderson’s play and his decision to leave him off the floor at the end of the game.
  • “Ryan can do more than just stand out there and shoot threes,” Van Gundy explained. “He did not rebound as well tonight but I thought he defended pretty well. I was sort of kicking myself at the end and I probably would have kicked myself more since I didn’t get him back in the game late but the matchups were so hard. I originally took him out because we were at the free throw and I got their play call, I know they’re going isolation with Thaddeus Young which is a tough matchup.”
  • Van Gundy thought Turkoglu would be a better matchup with Young so he kept in for the remainder of the game.
  • Everyone on either side who was asked about the two four-point plays said that it was like nothing they’ve ever seen before, including Doug Collins.
  • “We give up eight points on two plays and lose a one possession game,” Collins explained. “I’ve never seen that before.”

Next Up: The Magic will host the Toronto Raptors Friday night.

Final Thought: This Magic team may not be playing as well as they can but they sure are resilient.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).