Second Unit Shines As the Magic Rout the Sixers

76ers Magic Basketball

With the Phillies winning game 1 of the World Series against the Yankees, it was a great night for the city of Philadelphia.

Well, most of the city.

It wasn’t much of a night for the 76ers.

The Orlando Magic celebrated the hanging of their Eastern Conference Championship banner by routing the Sixers 120-106.

The Magic came out running, but were very sloppy in the first quarter. Philadelphia took a 22-19 lead after Thaddeus Young hit a 3-pointer. Louis Williams followed that up with a lay-up and the Sixers took a 5-point lead. Williams was on fire in the first quarter, scoring 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, but only scored 8 points the rest of the way. The Magic closed the quarter on a 10-5 run and took a 29-27 lead behind the play of Point Guard Jason Williams.

Orlando’s second unit took over in the second quarter, out-scoring the Sixers 41-20 and took a 70-47 lead into the break. The Sixers would never recover. The Magic added to their lead in the third quarter, outscoring Philadelphia 30-22 to extend their lead to 100-69. The Magic put it in cruise control in the fourth quarter and were out-scored 37-20, making the final score 120-106.

Jason Williams was the star of the first half for Orlando. He scored 14 points and had 5 assists in the first half alone and finished with 15 points for the game. The Magic really took control on a series of three straight plays made by Williams. He made a beautiful pass to Marcin Gortat, who hammered down a powerful dunk, then followed that up by making back-to-back 3-pointers. Williams was also able to draw a foul on a halfcourt heave with the clock running out in the first quarter.  Stan Van Gundy had some nice things to say about Williams.

“I thought Jason and when he first got in he turned the ball over a couple of times but then he didn’t miss shot in the first half. He played very well and I thought our entire second unit did a good job in the second quarter.”

It wasn’t all praise for Williams. Van Gundy is worried about his turnover problem.

“When games are close, he’s in big situations, he plays real solid basketball. With a lead, he tends to get careless with the ball. Not only the three turnovers tonight but he threw two bad passes that he just sort of floated out there and they could have easily gone the other way.”

Williams played 23 minutes while starter Jameer Nelson played just 21 minutes. Nelson was pretty solid when he was in the game. He scored 7 points on 3-of-6 shooting and had 6 assists. He didn’t get in the lane as often as he did during the pre-season, but he was still able to set up his teammates for some open shots and knocked down a few himself. He had a couple of really nice moves that can be classified as “ankle-breakers.”

Dwight Howard was his usual self, going for 21 and 15. He had a quiet game but did have an open dunk that brought the crowd to their feet after an un-called flop attempt by Sixers Forward Marreese Speights.

Vine Carter also had a quiet game but he brought the home crowd to their feet more than once. He hit a fade away jumper on his first attempt with the Magic and hit a 3-pointer shortly thereafter. Carter also went up high to lay in a bad alley-oop pass from Matt Barnes – with his left hand. Vince was aggressive and showed good effort on the defensive end.

Mickael Pietrus scored 10 first quarter points and finished with 13 for the game, but the defensive end is where Pietrus really shined. He drew the tough assignment of covering Andre Iguodala and he came up big. Iguodala did not score in the first quarter and finished with just 8 points on 3-of-11 shooting.

Ryan Anderson had a solid first start. As expected, Anderson had several open looks from the outside and did not disappoint. He was 5-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-7 from downtown and finished the game with 16 points. He also rebounded the ball better, grabbing 5 boards.

Orlando was incredible on the offensive end. They shot 56.6% (45-of-81) from the field and were an incredible 55.2% (16-of-29) from downtown. You won’t lose many games when you shoot like that.

Unfortunately for the Magic, they still have a lot to work on. Once again, Stan Van Gundy was not happy with Orlando’s turnovers (17) and defense.

“Obviously we shot the ball great. I thought offensively we played well except for the turnovers but defensively, we played two good quarters. I thought the second and third quarters where we opened up the big lead, we played very well defensively. We struggled to guard them in the first quarter and then in the third quarter, I didn’t like our effort, our focus or anything. They shot 60% and scored 59 in the second half. They shot 50% for the game, made seven 3s and went to the line 30 times. I can’t be happy with that kind of defense and I don’t think that will get us very far as the season goes on. I was not pleased at all on the defensive end. I would like to play us play 48 minutes instead of 36 and I’d like to see us make a consistent defensive effort.”

Game Notes:

  • The Magic had six players in double figures (Pietrus, Anderson, Howard, Carter, Williams, Redick).
  • Orlando had an excellent ball movement on most of their possessions. The team is full of good passers. It got them a lot of open looks and is one of the primary reasons that the Magic shot the ball so well.
  • Brandon Bass continues to make his jump shots. He was 4-of-7 from the field.
  • Matt Barnes looked for his 3-point shot on the wing early on. He finished with 7 points.
  • JJ Redick played pretty well offensively. He shot 4-of-6 and had 10 points.
  • With 7:45 to play in the third quarter, Philadelphia cut Orlando’s lead to 82-60. The Sixers had already scored 13 points in the quarter. Stan Van Gundy called timeout and Orlando responded. Philadelphia had just 9 points in the rest of the quarter and the Magic entered the final quarter with a 31-point lead.
  • Van Gundy was right when he said the Magic couldn’t stop Speights. The former Gator had 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting.
  • Speaking of Van Gundy, he picked up a technical foul with the Magic up by 27.
  • Howard also received his first technical foul of the season.
  • Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala combined for 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting.

76ers Coach Eddie Jordan on the Magic

“This is a heck of a team we played tonight. They got away from us a little bit in the first half with some layups in the open floor, but the 3s destroyed us.”

Orlando’s next game is Friday night at New Jersey against the Nets where they will battle former players Courtney Lee, Tony Battie, and Rafer Alston. Van Gundy had nothing but good things to say about them in post-game press conference.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

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