After starting the season 1-30, the Philadelphia 76ers (6-38) have won two of their last three and are 5-8 in their last 13. Things haven’t been going too well for the Orlando Magic (20-21), who fell 96-87 Wednesday night to Philly, and have lost for the eighth time in nine games and now drop below .500 for the first time since November 29th.
Elfrid Payton led all scorers with 21 points, and added 10 assists for his fifth double-double of the season. Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic both scored 15, and had 10 and 11 rebounds, respectively, but Jahlil Okafor’s 20 and five 76ers finishing with double digit points was too much for the Magic at home.
After going up 20-10, Orlando lacked intensity on defense and allowed Philadelphia to shoot 48% from the field, and missed over 50 shots in the contest. Once Philadelphia took the lead on an Okafor bucket at the end of the second, the 76ers didn’t lose it for the rest of the game.
Head coach Scott Skiles says the lack of competitiveness is not something he is happy about.
A key to the victory was bench play, the 76ers totaled 51 bench points, compared to Orlando’s 24. Magic starters were forced to play heavy minutes, with four of the five starters playing over 35 minutes. Nikola Vucevic, in his fourth year with Orlando after being drafted by Philadelphia, says how the team couldn’t regain the lead after a couple 76ers runs.
The Magic will take on the Charlotte Hornets at home Friday night, as they will try to snap a four game losing streak, and get back to .500. Philadelphia hosts Boston on Saturday, trying to catch the Lakers (9-35) to rid the title of worst record in basketball.