By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were riding high as they entered the last game of the regular season against the Orlando Magic. After clinching the number one seed, the starters didn’t play in this game. So the second unit was relied upon to deal with a game Orlando squad. Philly used a strong offensive surge to max out the Magic 128-117.
It looked good early on for Philly as despite the fact the starting unit didn’t play. They were still able to put on a show tonight. The Sixers hit their first couple of shots and opened the floodgates from three-point line early in the game. They made 16 threes and hit 45.7% of them. The strong three-point shooting opened up driving lanes for rookie guard Tyrese Maxey. Who scored 30-points tonight and hit three three-pointers. Most people came in thinking this game would be terrible to watch. However, Maxey had other ideas he took advantage of his opportunity and showed out. He was the leading scorer for the Sixers and the Magic had no answers for him. He got what he wanted from the perimeter and in the paint. With his performance tonight the rook made a statement that he should be included in the playoff rotation.
Orlando continued to fight though and at one-point they were able to get an eight-point lead over Philly. They were led by rookie guard Cole Anthony who like Maxey put on a show tonight. At times they were trading baskets back and forth. He scored 37-points and he used his play-making skills to get his teammates involved in the game. Despite his scoring the Philly defenders were able to shutdown everyone else on the squad and neutralized the scoring of Anthony. The Magic could definitely be a threat in the Eastern conference if they build around the two-way ability of Anthony.
The Sixers were able to regain the lead thanks to a late scoring run in the third quarter. It was powered by the young scoring trio of guards Shake Milton, Isaiah Joe, and forward Paul Reed. The three combined for 40-points. Orlando could not stop them. Whether it was from the paint or the three-point line all three destroyed the Magic. Philly’s depth was really on display in this game. Between Reed, Joe, and Maxey the 2020 NBA draft may go down as one of the best drafts in Sixers history.
Now Philly gets a full week off to prepare for their playoff opponent as they await the winner of Tuesday’s Play-In tournament. They will need strong play on both sides of the ball, to deal with whoever comes out of the tournament. Philly will need all hands on deck to deal with whoever their first round opponent is.
On the playoffs, “We gotta get ready. We’re gonna play a tough opponent in the first round whoever it is. They’re gonna be playoff tested already and we would have a week off… We gotta be ready,” said Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers.