Emdone Magic

By: Kylan Watson

The Philadelphia 76ers faced the Orlando Magic in the final game of their two-game series. Philly was looking to get back in the win column after letting one slip away thanks to getting outhustled and outshot by a game Magic squad. This time the Sixers were able to ride the duo of Joel Embiid and James Harden to beat Orlando 105-94.

The Sixers started the game hot they hit their first few shots and were able to get out to an early lead. They used a resurgent Joel Embiid who led a 14-to-nothing run to give Philly an 11-point lead at the end of the first quarter. He scored 28-points and grabbed 11-rebounds and took full advantage of no Magic defender being able to take him one on one. Embiid’s scoring and two-way ability have been pivotal for Philly. It has helped stabilize them when they have needed him to close out games like he did tonight and rebound defensive possessions when someone would blow by their man. He has anchored the fourth rank defense in the league while leading the league in scoring that is an impressive feat and when the Sixers have it working on both sides of the ball, they are hard to beat.

Despite the offensive explosion from Joel Embiid this game was there for the taking for the Magic and they did all they could to get a victory. They were jumping on loose balls, getting the Sixers defenders in foul trouble, but their shots just weren’t falling tonight like they were on Monday. Philly turned them into a jump shooting team and no one besides Markelle Fultz came to play tonight. He scored 18-points and used his elusiveness to get to the basket. The Sixers did not have any answers for him tonight, but when it mattered, they shut down the paint and forced him to shoot the ball and that gave them enough cushion to keep the Magic at bay.

When the Magic went on their runs James Harden would have an answer. He scored 26-points tonight and was hot from downtown he hit six/10 three-pointers tonight. His shooting propelled the Sixers to their 33rd victory tonight and if his hot shooting can continue then the Sixers have one of the deadliest duos in the league. They have gelled during the month of January and if they can keep it going the Sixers are a championship contender.

The Sixers will now begin a three-game road trip that starts in San Antonio on Friday night. They will need to continue to move the ball like they did tonight to find the right shot and not play individual basketball. Additionally, they stay attached to their man on the perimeter. The Spurs are another young team with strong and athletic players that give Philly defensive fits. They will need to use their length to make the Spurs a jump shooting team like they did to the Magic tonight if they want to get their 34th victory of the season.

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