Orlando Magic Grades: Philadelphia 76ers 108, Orlando Magic 101

Joel Embiid proved a difficult guy to stop in the block as the Philadelphia 76ers outlasted the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid proved a difficult guy to stop in the block as the Philadelphia 76ers outlasted the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic held the lead into the fourth quarter, but could not contain Joel Embiid and could not keep the Philadelphia 76ers off the glass.

38. 108. 93. Final. 101

The Orlando Magic had already watched their lead slip away. The deficit was growing and they were trying desperately to get back into the game. They knew they needed this game to keep up with the suddenly surging Brooklyn Nets. They knew they needed it for confidence against quality opponents.

They needed it to make the Playoffs on their own terms and by their own hand — the Washington Wizards’ loss later in the evening was award the Orlando Magic that playoff berth anyway.

Joel Embiid was putting the team away though. The Magic’s desperation was playing against them now. Their frustration was playing against them now. And the Philadelphia 76ers were putting the hammer down.

Joel Embiid put the hammer down spinning off Nikola Vucevic in the post and jamming it with two hands, hamming it up for the TNT cameras for good measure. That was the exclamation point on a fourth quarter that left the Magic a little glum and in a 108-101 defeat Friday.

Orlando led by two points entering the fourth quarter. But the team could not get much offensive movement in the final 12 minutes. They struggled to hit from outside and their missed shots led directly to big plays for the 76ers.

But bigger than that, they had no answer for Embiid. They tried doubling hard to dare the 76ers to shoot. But eventually, they lost their discipline.

They lost shooters, but worse, they fouled a ton. They reached and were late. Their precision and discipline to play their defense hurt them. The Sixers took 33 free throw attempts, Embiid taking 13 of them on his own.

Orlando was not playing its game. And those mistakes cost them in the end. It cost them down the stretch as the Magic’s shooting betrayed them yet again.

Coach Steve Clifford would say after the game that it was Joel Embiid’s star power that helped power the 76ers. they simply had someone who could get to his spots and overpower the Magic’s defense.

But that was not quite it. Yes, Embiid made plays down the stretch to give the 76ers cushion. And yes the Magic missed their share of solid and no-so-solid shot attempts to try to get it back.

It was the Magic’s poor defensive discipline and the constant mistakes — on both ends — that hurt the team late in the game. Orlando had control and let it slip.

Just like the team had control over seventh and now finds itself scrambling to achieve even that basic goal it set for itself.

B-. <a href=. G/F. Orlando Magic. EVAN FOURNIER

Orlando Magic. TERRENCE ROSS. F. At least Evan Fournier made a few shots and found some way to get himself going. <a href=. G/F

PG. Orlando Magic. D.J. AUGUSTIN. B+. The Orlando Magic were struggling to get into the paint throughout the game. With Aaron Gordon out of the game, the Magic lacked a lot of size and it showed as they struggled to keep Al Horford out of the paint and to secure rebounds. The Magic needed some energy and some creativity and some fearlessness.<p><a href=

C-. <a href=. F. Orlando Magic. GARY CLARK

B. The Philadelphia 76ers were just as sloppy as the Orlando Magic throughout the game. They had a lot of turnovers and struggled to shoot too. The first quarter of the game was about as ugly and unpolished as we would have expected from teams that have not played in four months (except now these teams should have enough games under their belt to look somewhat functional).<p>The 76ers offense gets bogged down a lot. The ball does not move very well and the team lacks a lot of creators. The Magic’s double teams on Joel Embiid were really effective and they bottled him up well. Orlando could not break Philadelphia’s defense that effectively, but the game was tight.</p><p>Then Embiid took over. He scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Tobias Harris also had 23 points to go with 15 rebounds as the Sixers attacked the glass effectively and frustrated the Magic. They had the horses to get to the end of the game and win.</p>. 42-27. 6th East. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

3-point shooting holding Orlando Magic back. dark. Next

The Orlando Magic are now 32-38 and have clinched a playoff spot. They trail the Brooklyn Nets by 1.5 games for seventh. The Orlando Magic will face the Boston Celtics on Sunday.