Short-Handed Magic Stood No Chance Against Sixers
Orlando was even more injury-plagued than usual on Monday evening as only nine men were available to play for Coach Jacque Vaughn with Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, Arron Afflalo and DeQuan Jones all sitting out. The Magic came into the Wells Fargo Center with their 17th different starting lineup of this still young season. ‘Ugh’, is all you can say when you see Josh McRoberts and Ish Smith starting. The Magic posted a season-low 61 points in what may be Philly’s simplest victory of the year. Orlando has now twice obtained separate 10-game losing streaks as the Magic have a 14-34 record and have eaten failure 21 of the past 23 contests now.
“Ish Smith is the worst player in the league.” – Brian Serra via text after Ish’s 2-10 shooting, 3 turnover, 2 assists in 26 minute performance.
Nikola Vucevic doesn’t seem like a guy who circles games on his calendar, but you know no matter how much he downplayed it that Nik was intent on making the Sixers organization regret trading him. Well, Doug Collins had no problem giving the 22-year-old plenty of praise and even a high-five in the first half. 9 points and 14 boards for Nik, but again, not enough touches for ‘Vucci Mane’. But no one will truly gripe because it’s more than obvious we’re trying to lose based on player minutes. Maurice Harkless was drafted 15th overall last summer by Philly before being dealt, but he 19-year-old had a rough 4-of-13 outing and scored just 10 points.
Both teams are on pace to break the record for fewest free throws attempted in a season. The first personal foul of the contest wasn’t whistled until 9 MINUTES INTO THE GAME! A 20-2 Sixers run made it all apparent that Orlando didn’t have the horses to stick with a much more cohesive Philly squad. It took until the 4:57 mark of the second quarter, but Nik Vucevic finally attempted the game’s first free throws.
God bless E’Twaun Moore and his flashy 12 points, as well as Vucevic’s 9 points and 11 boards that helped the Magic head into the locker room trailing by just seven points. Philly was just toying with the Magic at that point, playing (understandably) lackadaisical defense and 1-on-1 basketball. Orlando got within 3 early in the second half before the Sixers went on a 14-1 run. The Sixers lead by 14 eentering the final period as Orlando just had no offensive flow or weapons to spread the floor. The last 12 minutes were an afterthought.
E’Twaun Moore led the team in scoring with 18 points. Andrew Nicholson chipped in with 11 points. The aforementioned starting duo of Ish Smith and Josh McRoberts combined to shoot 4-22 on the night.
The Magic finished their 5-game road trip and now return home to host the L.A. Clippers at Amway Center on Wednesday.
Adam Papageorgiou runs Orlando Magic Greek and is a proud MBO contributor.