The Philadelphia 76ers have now won their fifth game in a row as they eeked out a win over Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, and the Orlando Magic.
Doc Rivers returned to the sideline without a laundry list of players: Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton. Paul Reed and Jaden Springer. Similarly, the Magic notably missed Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz, among others.
The host Magic jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game. Unsurprisingly, the Sixers battled back behind 10 first-quarter points from Joel Embiid. Also, Seth Curry caught fire, which contributed to a 15-4 run and a brief Sixer lead. The Sixers’ marksman hit his first four shots, including three from long range. Both teams scored 33 points in the first. Orlando’s Terrence Ross scored 11 points (5/8, 1/2 3P) in his first five minutes.
Midway through the second quarter, the visiting Sixers achieved a 10-0 scoring run to earn another slim lead. Shortly following, a Furkan Korkmaz three resulted in an Orlando timeout. The Sixers outscored Orlando 29-26 in the quarter to take a 62-59 lead into halftime. Through two quarters, Philly was led by 18 points (6/11 FG, 6/8 FT) from Embiid, 14 points (6/11 FG, 1/1 FT, 1/4 3P) from Tobias Harris, and Curry (5/6 FG, 3/3 3P) with 13 points.
Andre Drummond had a productive seven first-half minutes, accumulating 9 points (4/5 FG, 1/1 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, one steal, and one block. The Magic contested the Sixers in the first half with 14 points (5/10 FG, 2/3 FT, 2/4 3P) and 5 assists from Cole Anthony. Rookie scoring leader Franz Wagner also added an early 10 points on 4/7 shooting and a pair of free throws.
Isaiah Joe, after receiving early minutes, was lost at halftime due to right leg soreness. Orlando opened up the half on a 14-2 run. Ultimately the run was extended to 20-6, which resulted in a double-digit Sixer deficit. This margin strangely compelled Doc Rivers to roll out an Embiid-Drummond pairing in the later stages of the third quarter.
Orlando outscored the Sixers 30-26 in the third and took a narrow 89-88 lead into the final frame. Korkmaz scored 10 points in the third quarter. In the middle of the fourth, the Sixers went on a 10-0 run, earning an 11-point lead. A late push by Orlando cut the Philly lead to one possession. However, the visiting Sixers came away victorious.
In 33 minutes, Embiid spearheaded the Sixers with 31 points (12/22 FG, 7/10 FT, 0/2 3P), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, one steal, and one block. Harris played 43 minutes, scoring 22 points (9/19 FG, 1/1 FT, 3/6 3P), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, two steals, and two blocks. Curry played 41 minutes, accumulating 20 points (8/13 FG, 1/2 FT, 3/5 3P), 12 assists, and 7 rebounds.
Korkmaz was the third Sixer who played over 40 minutes on the night, adding 20 points (6/15 FG, 4/4 FT, 4/9 3P) and 5 rebounds. Danny Green (0/2 FG, 0/2 3P) did not record a stat in 23 minutes. In the loss, Cole Anthony tallied 26 points (9/21 FG, 5/7 FT, 3/8 3P), 7 assists, and 5 rebounds.
The Sixers’ next game is on Friday, January 7th at 7:00 pm EST versus the San Antonio Spurs. The home game can be watched on NBC Sports Philly. For additional Sixers coverage and more Philly sports content, visit PhillySportsNetwork.com!