The Philadelphia 76ers technically still have a better record than the Orlando Magic. However, that couldn’t have made the Sixers feel better after their humiliating loss to the Magic at Philadelphia on Feb. 26. The rematch on March 10 further proved that the Sixers are no better than a team with only 18 wins, after succumbing to a 99-91 loss.
The Sixers did show more life than they did in their last meeting with the Magic, although the bar wasn’t that high. Philadelphia stormed out of the gate with 30 points in the first quarter, yet Orlando had 28 points in each of the first two. Although the Sixers rebounded in the third quarter to close within a point, the Magic pulled away in the fourth just like the Miami Heat did to them on March 8.
Thaddeus Young did most of the damage for Philadelphia with 26 points on 13-of-17 shooting. But Jameer Nelson made the bigger difference for the Magic, as the oft-injured star and former St. Joseph’s Hawk racked up 24 points and five three-pointers. In addition, former Sixers prospect Nik Vucevic tallied 14 points and 17 rebounds, showing why he is one of the few players in the Dwight Howard-Andrew Bynum trade to excel this season.
When the Magic beat the Sixers late last month, they snapped a 10-game road losing streak. Ironically, Philadelphia couldn’t snap a 12-game road losing streak of its own in Orlando, although the Magic did snap a seven-game skid at home.
The Magic only have a handful of wins in the last several weeks, yet two of them have come against the Sixers. The standings still show that Philadelphia is six games better than Orlando overall, but it doesn’t feel like the Sixers are that much better than the Magic or anyone else in the NBA.
Luckily for Philadelphia and unluckily for Orlando, there are no more games between these two lottery-bound teams this season. Perhaps it is also lucky for the Sixers that they only have 20 more games left at all this year, with almost no possibility for any more after that.