Smashed Magic

By: Kylan Watson

Entering the second game of two against the Orlando Magic, the Philadelphia 76ers wanted to finish them off as fast as they could. This was the front-end of a back-to-back for Philly as they play Atlanta tomorrow night. They accomplished their mission as the duo of Tobias Harris and Shake Milton blasted the Magic and propelled them to an 133-103 victory.

The Magic jumped on Philly from the opening tip-off, once again the length of the Magic forced Philly into some early turnovers. Which allowed the Magic to use their athleticism to get easy baskets and before Philly could settle down, they were down by seven and the Magic were threatening to run them out of Florida. Paolo Banchero led them, he scored 18-points and was very effective against the Sixers’ overmatched defenders. He attacked the basket and got them in foul trouble. Banchero continues to show why he is one of the best young players in the league and Philly had to incorporate a three-two zone defense to stop him.

The Sixers weathered the early storm and turned up the defensive pressure. The pressure forced the Magic to take more difficult shots and they could not make them. Philly was able to stay close enough for the duo of Shake Milton (29-points) and Tobias Harris (25-points) to takeover this contest. They combined for 54 of Philly’s 133 points and both took turns torching Orlando’s defenders for daring to give them space to put a shot up or attack the basket. There were multiple times through out this game where Harris would save an offensive possession that was going nowhere with a rainbow three-pointer or attacking the basket and either going to the free-throw line or making a tough lay-up. Milton kept possessions alive with his hustle and sniper ability from the three-point line. This undermanned stretch has helped both players find their scoring prowess which has been pivotal to helping the Sixers stay above water without the trio of Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey who are all missing games because of foot injuries. If both players can build on this stretch Philly can have a viable fourth option in Harris and a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Milton. That would have been unheard of a few weeks ago but Milton has found himself and is staking his claim to being a contender for that award.

Philly will now prepare to face the Atlanta Hawks tomorrow night and they will need to turn their defense into offense once again if they want to keep the dominant backcourt duo of Dejounte Murray and Trae Young in check. Additionally, they will need to continue to keep the ball moving to maximize their offensive capabilities. If they want to get their 12th victory of the season.

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