Rob Foldy/USA TODAY
Tobias Harris called the Magic's Sunday night tilt with the Sixers a must-win game. Not because of the opponent -- although looking at the standings, positioning and a season series are on the line -- but rather for where the team is at in its development. Harris said the team needed to come out with the mentality of trying to bounce-back from the loss to Miami the night before. Much like a desperate Sixers team was trying to do in snapping a 13-game skid entering the game.
There certainly was a hint of desperation in the way the Sixers were playing. A desperation perhaps the Magic needed to answer back with. Especially with Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo sitting the game out with injuries.
When Orlando reached that point and made the plays they needed to, the scoring came fast and furious on a 21-4 run during the third and fourth quarters.
"Teams that win in this league, they're consistent throughout the course of the game," said Ronnie Price, who played in his first game since Jan. 31 in a surprise start. "But in the fourth quarter, they have another level that they turn up to. I take it as a compliment to say that our team was able to do that in the fourth quarter. That's winning basketball and that's what we're trying to get to right now. Being able to step up our intensity level and our focus in the fourth quarter is a good sign it's moving forward. We've got to make it a continuous thing."
The Magic used some incredible hustle plays with Ronnie Price diving over players for loose balls or Victor Oladipo doing the same or Kyle O'Quinn deflecting passes that somehow stay inbounds to start fast breaks or following up shots with dunks or E'Twaun Moore crossing over Thaddeus Young for a clear pathway to the basket for a jam. They all added up to a 92-81 win over the 76ers at Amway Center on Sunday night for the Magic.
Orlando had that other level that Philadelphia simply did not or could not generate this evening. The Sixers struggled to shoot all night, but it was really turnovers that did them in as the Magic outscored them 26-12. They shot 5 for 18 in the final quarter (27.8 percent) and missed on all eight of their 3-point attempts.
Philadelphia committed six turnovers and had 19 for the game, turned into 21 Orlando points. The turnovers likely kept the Sixers from pulling away as they controlled the pace of play for much of the game.no comments