The Orlando Magic (19-31) began their four-game road trip Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers (32-16). The Magic entered this matchup coming off a tough loss at home against the Chicago Bulls (24-26) Saturday night. Chuma Okeke (Magic) was the only injured player in the matchup, out due to a knee injury. Philadelphia entered this game with both a healthy squad and an 88.06% win probability, yet this did not scare the young Magic team.
While the Magic squad had a rather quiet first quarter, falling behind 30-17, the second quarter is where they began to shake things up. After being down by 20 points early into the quarter, Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner led their team on a comeback, combining for 21 points in the quarter. While the two young studs put up valiant efforts, they still found themselves down 62-52 entering the half. Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists shooting roughly 64% from the field. Paolo Banchero led the Magic with 13 points and 3 rebounds shooting 50% from the field, assisted primarily by Franz Wagner (12 points and 4 rebounds). After a rather poor first half, the Magic needed some kind of spark to ignite a second-half comeback, and that spark came in the third quarter.
An 8-0 run over the course of 1:11 saw the Magic cut down the 76ers’ lead to 7 points with a little over half of the third quarter left to go. Another 6-0 run over 58 seconds brought the Magic within 2 points of the 76ers, dismantling what was once a commanding 20-point lead earlier in the game. Once again, Banchero led his team with 14 points in the quarter, yet this time he had much more assistance from his team, who in a combined effort put up 28 points to support him. This extremely impressive performance put the Magic in the lead at the end of the third quarter, leading for the first time in the game 94-90. After tying up the game early into the fourth quarter, the 76ers used up the last bit of gas in their tank trying to contain the now riled-up Magic squad. The 7:03 mark was the last time the game was even close, as the Magic would go on to dominate the 76ers, putting up 17 points to their 8 points. The Magic won the game 119-109, demonstrating that their young squad is not one to count out as competitors.
Paolo Banchero finished the night leading his team with 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was assisted most notably by Moritz Wagner (22 points and 6 rebounds), Franz Wagner (19 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists), Markelle Fultz (12 points, 2 rebounds, and 10 assists), and Wendell Carter Jr. (12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists).
Joel Embiid finished the night leading his team with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. He was assisted most notably by James Harden (17 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists), Tobias Harris (17 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist), Matisse Thybulle (10 points, 1 rebound, and 2 assists), and De’Anthony Melton (8 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists).
The Orlando Magic (20-31) will face the Philadelphia 76ers (32-17) again on Wednesday night in game two of their four-game road trip. The 76ers are sure to put up an even greater effort after this loss, as they allowed the Magic to come back from a 20-point lead and win by 10 points. That being said, the Magic will need to come out of the gate with the same energy and effort they had in the fourth quarter, otherwise they may be looking at a rough night. The 76ers are currently averaging 114.7 points per game, while allowing 111.0 points per game, placing them 4th overall defensively in the league. If there is any lesson for the 76ers to learn after Monday night’s matchup, it is to not count out the Magic’s talented young squad.
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