The Orlando Magic could not stop a devastating run from the Philadelphia 76ers in the first quarter and trailed the whole way in a road loss.
The Orlando Magic defense was always under stress having to deal with the sheer size of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Both had clear matchup advantages throughout the game and took advantage of them at every moment.
It was always the little things that would determine whether the Orlando Magic would be able to keep up with the growing star power from the Philadelphia 76ers. Those small things remained in the Sixers favor.
In one telling play, J.J. Redick screened Nikola Vucevic for Joel Embiid. Nikola Vucevic tried to move around the screen to keep up with the All-Star big man. But he collided with D.J. Augustin and both fell to the ground. Embiid powered to the hoop and flushed a two-handed jam.
That was icing on the cake in a first half that saw the 76ers dominate throughout to build as much as a 23-point lead in a 116-105 win at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.
Orlando made a late run that cut the lead down to as little as nine points. But it was not enough to threaten the 76ers. Coach Brett Brown opted to stay with his bench players as Embiid and Simmons stayed on the bench.
The Magic found the spark too late as the Sixers outplayed them throughout.
It started in the first quarter when Orlando took an early nine-point lead with great ball movement and shot-making. That changed quickly as the Sixers protected the ball and burned off a 21-3 run to end the first quarter.
Orlando could not get within 10 points until the fourth quarter as the rest of the game seemed rote. The Magic were not going through the motions, but it was not a great effort either. Philadelphia was attacking the glass and forcing Orlando into difficult shots. The Magic found it hard to get into the lane and create the passing they need to succeed.
It came in the second half. But the defense never came throughout. Embiid bullied his way to the basket time and time again. And Simmons was able to break down whatever defender was on him. Philadelphia was the more composed and stronger team throughout, coasting to a victory.
The Orlando Magic will finish their road trip against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.