By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic renewed their rivalry for the first time in the 2022-2023 NBA season. The Magic were the healthier and younger team tonight, but thanks to a 10-point third-quarter explosion from Shake Milton. Philly was able to beat the Magic 107-99.
The Magic jumped on the Sixers from the opening quarter. They took full advantage of their young legs and were running Philly off the court. The frontcourt duo of Bol Bol (18-points) and Franz Wagner (22-points) combined for 42 of Orlando’s 99-points. They used their height advantage over the shorter Sixers defenders to rise up above them and put the ball in the hoop. Bol Bol in particular saved a couple of the Magic’s offensive possessions in the second quarter he stole the ball off of Shake Milton and pulled up from the free throw line to keep the Magic ahead heading in to half-time. The Sixers implemented a three-two zone to stop the Magic from attacking the paint. That bet paid off for Philly as Orlando could not make them pay from the three-point line. As they only hit nine/35 three-pointers tonight, the Sixers defense saved them tonight and allowed them to stay close enough for their offense to catch-up.
Thanks to a 10-point third quarter from Shake Milton, that was capped off by him making back-to-back three-pointers. Philly was able to take their first lead of the game and they wouldn’t relinquish it. He scored 24-points and had 10 assists that is the first double-double of his career. What a time to achieve this feat. The Sixers needed his passing skills late in the fourth quarter when the Magic were threatening. He found Montrezl Harrell for a game winning dunk to pull-away from Orlando and get their 10th win of the season.
On Milton’s performance tonight, “He was great. Good decision making. Solid. Best I’ve seen him pass, ever. Shake’s always been a scorer, but he’s doing more,” said Sixers Head Coach Doc Rivers.
The Sixers will now prepare to face the Orlando Magic again on Sunday night. They will need to keep the ball moving to combat the length of the Magic’s frontcourt and to get high-percentage shots on the offensive end. Additionally, they will need to do what they did tonight on the defensive end, to force the Magic to beat you from the three-point line and not attack the paint. If they want to get their 11th win of the season.