PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Seth Curry scored 24 points, Tobias Harris had 17 and the Philadelphia 76ers needed a free throw in …
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Seth Curry scored 24 points, Tobias Harris had 17 and the Philadelphia 76ers needed a free throw in the final minute to beat the Orlando Magic by four wins 101-96 Monday night.
The Magic showed gravel in a burning second half and gathered from 16 down to equalize 93-all on Mo Bamba’s thump with 57 seconds left. The Magic bench broke out with the team on the verge of upset.
Sixers just hung on the line. Ty Maxey made two for the lead, Joel Embiid hit 3 of 4 and Maxey added two more to help the Sixers avoid an embarrassing defeat. Embiid scored 16 points on 4-for-16 shooting.
Franz Wagner led the Magic with 27 points and Jalen Suggs had 17.
Last season’s best regular season team in the East, the Sixers, were hit by injuries and illness this season, leaving them sputtering along with 0.500 most of this year. Embiid missed nine games because of COVID-19 – it was so bad for him that he said he had “headaches worse than migraines” – and Harris and Danny Green were among the other Sixers out for games because of the league’s protocols.
Post the season-long absence of All-Star Ben Simmons after his trade demands, and the Sixers have been out of sync in Doc Rivers’ second year on the bench.
Keep in mind that the starting night for Embiid-Harris-Green-Curry-Maxey started for only the seventh time this season (5-2).
For a while, the combination worked.
The Magic missed their first five 3s and the Sixers advanced to a 31-19 lead.
But this was no blowout. And it was yet another proof that it supported Rivers’ belief that the starting lineup needed more games together to get its track back.
“This team is going to be really good. I just feel it,” he said before the game. “It takes a while, but we’ll probably make it.”
The Magic on gave Philly her worst loss of the season.
Embiid still looks tired in the second half and Magic came in the lead. The Magic took the lead 64-62 on Suggs’ choice of Embid’s lazy pass and a fastbreak dunk that ignited buh from the home crowd. Suggs swung from the edge and then pointed to the sky as he hurried back into defense. Wagner uttered a primal shout on another dunk from a turnover that kept Orlando’s lead at three.
Magic coach Jamahl Mosley got a pep talk from Rivers shortly after Orlando hired him in July. Rivers’ advice was simple: understand that Orlando’s reconstruction is about the long term.
“Just trust the process of things,” Mosley said. “Put the work with guys and make sure the guys know how much you care.”
Knocking the Sixers on the ropes is all part of the journey for Magic.
Embiid and Curry hit three in a row late in the third to send the Sixers to an 81-78 lead at the end of the quarter. Curry hit a 3 that made it 94-89 late in the fourth, but the Sixers still couldn’t quite keep Orlando out.
Magic: Former 76ers guards Michael Carter-Williams, rookie of the year in 2013-14, and Markelle Fultz, number 1 in the 2017 draft, both remained sidelined with injuries. Mosley said there is no timeline for the players, who had each once been considered the cornerstones of the Sixers’ rebuild, to return to the ranks.
76ers: C Andre Drummond had his fourth game of the season with at least 10 rebounds from the bench.
Magic: Host Denver on Wednesday.
Sixers: Embark on a four-game tour and play Wednesday in Boston. The Sixers play in Atlanta and twice in Charlotte to complete a stretch of 10 out of 12 away games.
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