Joel Embiid and the 76ers beat Magic 116-106 en route to fifth-straight victory
In a back-and-forth game, the 76ers were able to pull away in the final minutes to beat the Orlando Magic by a final score of 116-106. While they did end up winning by double digits, the now 7-32 Magic kept it close throughout a majority of the matchup.
The 76ers had four different players with 20 or more points (box score), headlined by Joel Embiid, who has now scored 30+ points in five straight games.
The turning point of the night was when the Sixers decided to play both Embiid and Andre Drummond together late third quarter. This was Doc Rivers first game back from health and safety protocol, and he made it memorable by playing the two bigs for extended minutes in a close game.
It’s easy to get used to this type of play from Embiid, but he has been on a ridiculous tear recently. In his fifth-straight 30 point game, he continued his dominance against a prepared Orlando team. The Magic start two bigs, and steadily clog the paint defensively with lengthy, athletic defenders. Despite this, Embiid was still able to find his groove and control the game.
Wednesday night wasn’t a good shooting performance for the All-Star center (12/22 FG 0/2 3pt), but his ability to get to the line and knock down tough shots allowed the Sixers to lean on him for offensive production. Embiid still doesn’t get the defensive recognition that he deserves, but he provides a versatile anchor on the defensive end. Especially late in games.
This was a welcomed bounce-back game for Tobias Harris, and after struggling for a little bit, it was nice to see him take a stride in the right direction. He finished this game with 22 points and nine rebounds. More importantly, he knocked down three of his six shots from beyond the arc.
Harris was distinctively more decisive when attacking the basket and taking shots from the three point line. He has good chemistry with Andre Drummond, and the pick-and-roll action between those two should be featured more often in the second unit offense.
This was a good start for a turn around for Harris, and with another weak team coming up on Friday, it would be nice to see him continue with a strong effort.
Seth Curry & Furkan Korkmaz
With all the Sixers’ point guards out for this matchup, both Seth Curry and Furkan Korkmaz stepped in and assumed ball handling responsibilities, and they did well. Curry finished with a double-double, posting 20 points and a season high 12 assists. He has a history of killing the Magic, and the classic two-man game with Embiid is how they ended up extending the lead late in the game.
Curry was extremely efficient as usual, shooting 8/13 from the field and 3/5 from deep, which was exactly what the Sixers needed to hurdle the Magic.
Furkan Korkmaz is firmly out of his month-long slump, and he was a major part of the win Wednesday. Korkmaz ended with 20 points, and while he wasn’t impressively efficient from the floor, he managed to hit a handful of big shots when needed. He took the role of the primary ball handler for the majority of the night, and has actually proved to excel in that position. He manipulates the game in a quirky, European-style and facilitates at a serviceable level.
It wasn’t pretty, but a win is still a win. Philadelphia extends their winning streak to five games, pushing them into fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Looking ahead, the Sixers move on to play San Antonio at home on Friday night.
Mandatory Credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP