By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to rebound after being clobbered by the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night. They faced a game Orlando Magic squad that was looking to extend Philly’s misery. The Sixers used an overtime offensive explosion to beat the Magic 116-114.
Orlando jumped on Philly from the opening tip-off as they were hitting their shots and taking full advantage of the Sixers slow defensive rotations. Wendell Carter led them he scored 23-points and grabbed 12-rebounds. He dominated Philly early in the game as he was hitting shots from the perimeter and the paint and refused to settle. He was able to get the Sixers defenders in early foul trouble and made them pay for giving him any room to get a shot up. His play allowed the Magic to have a 12-point lead by half-time.
Despite the offensive explosion by Carter. Philly weathered the early storm and had an explosive third quarter. They scored 27-points in that quarter and were led by the trio of Joel Embiid (35-points), James Harden (26-points), and Tobias Harris (26-points). They combined for 87 of the Sixers 116-points. Harris had his best game of the Harden and Embiid era. He single-handedly kept Philly in the game when everybody else was struggling. He made Orlando’s defenders pay for daring to leave him open and made the game-winning three-point shot to put Philly over the top. If Harris can use this game to propel him through the remaining 16-games left in the season. It could be a good development for Philly as they head into the post season. Harris is an important cog in Philly’s offense and his shot making becomes increasingly important in games like this one where both Embiid and Harden struggle.
On Harris’ impact on the team, “Tobias is such an unselfish person. He’s sacrificed so much for this team – sacrificing individual accolades, individual statistics… He’s the spirit of this team, and really lifts us up,” said 76ers Forward Georges Niang.
The Sixers will now travel back to Philly and face the Denver Nuggets tomorrow night. They will need another balanced scoring night, and a better effort on the defensive end. If they want to keep Nikola Jokic in check and get their 42nd win of the season.