Facing an Orlando Magic team that had lost 17 of its past 18 games, and 10 straight games on the road, the Sixers decided to put forth their worst effort of the 2012-13 season in a 98-84 loss. The team exhibited zero ball movement on the offensive end, constantly settling for long jumpers after one or two passes. An Orlando 11-0 run to start the 2nd half infuriated Doug Collins as he benched 4 of his 5 starters at once. A couple minutes later, consecutive turnovers by the Sixers brought a chorus of boos from the Wells Fargo crowd. Following a Sixers’ spurt to bring the deficit to a manageable seven points to end the third, the Magic started the 4th quarter on a 13-3 run, eliciting a Collins timeout and more boos from a fed-up crowd.
The game, and really the Sixers season, was summed up by a sequence with 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Evan Turner was called for an illegal screen out of bounds, charged with a foul and turning the ball over. Following the whistle, Turner had a dumbfounded look on his face and Malik Rose remarked that Turner didn’t understand the rule. He didn’t get it, and neither do the Sixers.
What was Jrue Holiday doing in this game? Although he had 10 assists, Holiday finished with only 9 points on 4-11 shooting. The Sixers’ all-star rarely asserted himself offensively, either playing passively or settling for a long jumper. Only two Sixers played with any sort of energy on the evening. Thad Young accrued 3 steals and 10 rebounds, including 5 offensive boards, and looked to be back to his old self following the hamstring injury. The other bright spot was Damien Wilkins with a team-high 14 points; Wilkins had two powerful dunks early in the second quarter during the Sixers’ lone run of positive play on the night.
For Orlando, Nikola Vucevic showed the Sixers what they were missing in trading him away this offseason, compiling 12 points and 19 rebounds (19 more than Andrew Bynum had on the night). E’Twaun Moore (forced into point guard duty with the injury to Jameer Nelson) finished the game with 12 points and a career-high 10 assists, proving how little tenacity Philadelphia showed on the defensive end. Aaron Afflalo also his customary solid performance, tying a game-high with 16 points, and adding 6 rebounds and 7 assists.
As the final seconds ticked down, Philadelphia fans booed unceasingly for the final 30 seconds of gametime. Vucevic went over to the Sixers bench and gave all the coaches and players the handshake bro-hug after the game. The imagery was clear; the Magic may still have the worse record but at least they’re still playing with pride. I’m not sure I could say that about the Sixers.