By Sean Kennedy
The Amway Center has been a house of horrors for the Sixers in recent years and Wednesday night was no different, dropping a 105-94 contest to the Magic. The first problem was that both Spencer Hawes and Tony Wroten were announced unavailable prior to gametime, after they had been expected to play. In Hawes’ absence, former Sixer Nikola Vucevic went off for a huge first half. Voose had a double-double in the first half alone, with 17 points and 10 rebounds on 8-8 shooting. He finished with 21 and 16, showing off his solid mid-range jumper in addition to a full arsenal of post moves. But at least Sixers fans will always have fond memories of those great Andrew Bynum games to look back on.
The other star for the Magic was electric rookie Victor Oladipo. The former Hoosier was able to consistently get to the rim, including a gorgeous spin move through three Sixer defenders in the fourth quarter for a lay-in. He also had 5 steals on the night, showing off the lock-down defensive potential. The one blemish on Oladipo’s night was his 8 turnovers as he needed to play a lot more point guard after Jameer Nelson went off with an ankle injury. Oladipo isn’t a point guard and having him play any time at the position is the Magic’s version of having Thad Young shoot threes: maybe he’ll learn some things and it doesn’t matter if it contributes to losses.
Besides the fact that Orlando was repeatedly committing unforced turnovers, Philadelphia stayed in the game through the play of Michael Carter-Williams and Thad Young. MCW was on fire early in the game, hitting 3 three-pointers in the first half, finishing with 23 points. It was the first time the rook recorded back-to-back 20-point performances.
In his return to the court after dealing with a personal family matter, Thad Young give credence to the rest side of the rust vs. rest debate. Young looked to have fresh legs, especially facing a Magic team that had played the night before, recording 26 points and 8 rebounds. Hopefully everything is alright on the home front for Thad, and it was great to see him back in action.
- Evan Turner stepped up to help on the defensive glass without Hawes around, as his 11 defensive boards were more than twice as many as anyone else on the team. Whatever flaws Turner may have in his game, his exceptional rebounding will always be a constant.
- Lorenzo Brown drove into multiple defenders on a few occasions only to get rudely rejected. I’ve still yet to see anything from Brown to get excited about. Get well soon Tony Wroten.
- The wonderful announcer comment of the night was from Marc Zumoff, who after yet another Big Baby mid-range jumper, said “Glen Davis, who’s been big, quite literally for them tonight.” He was making a joke off the Big Baby nickname but I heard it as a comment on those extra lb’s Davis is packing these days, so that was pretty great. Malik Rose was also tweeting up a storm about Drexel while they were on upset alert early in that game; Malik is a true multi-tasker.
The Sixers went the overly cautious route in holding out Hawes and Wroten again coming back from injury, which is tanking 101. MCW did a great job scoring the ball but wasn’t providing the type of distribuition we’ve seen from him (to be fair, Hawes being out really collapsed the defense into the paint). Hollis Thompson also showed some flashes in driving hard from the cup and has continued to earn playing time. 4/5 tanks