Instant Replay: Magic 98, Sixers 84


Instant Replay: Magic 98, Sixers 84


The Orlando Magic had won just three times in their last 31 games coming into Tuesday night’s tilt against the Sixers. They had dropped 10 straight road games and were a dismal 15-41 overall for the season.

The Sixers were back at the Wells Fargo Center trying to snap a five-game losing streak.

Orlando is a young team that just isn’t good enough and yet was absolutely better than the Sixers on this night.

The Sixers did not defend and could not make shots in a 98-84 defeat. They are now 22-33 on the season and dropped a season-high six straight games.

Turning point
The Magic started the third quarter on an 11-0 run and shot 6 of 7 from the floor. They then started the fourth quarter on a 13-3 run. They led by 17 points with 9:18 to play.

This happened two days after the Sixers allowed the Knicks to post a 17-2 run to start the second quarter.

Follow the leader
Aaron Afflalo led the Magic with 16 points. Andrew Nicholson scored 13 points, and the Magic shot 54 percent from the floor as a team.

Newly-acquired guard Tobias Harris came off the Magic bench and also scored 16 points.

Damien Wilkins and Jeremy Pargo led the Sixers in scoring with 14 points each. Dorell Wright added 11 points and Evan Turner scored 10 points, six of which came at the foul line. Turner attempted a career-high 10 free throws.

Jrue Holiday handed out 10 assists to go with nine points.

All five Magic starters scored in double figures. Meanwhile, Turner was the only Sixer starter to reach double digits with his 10 points. The Sixers’ other four starters combined for 26 points.

Take a bow
Nik Vucevic and Maurice Harkless had their NBA beginnings with the Sixers. Vucevic was selected 16th overall in the 2011 draft and Harkless was taken 15th overall last summer. Both players became expendable in the summer when the Sixers made the trade for Andrew Bynum.

Tuesday night, Vucevic led all rebounders with 19. He averages 11.4 boards per game for the season, fourth highest in the league. He also scored 12 points for his 32nd double-double of the season. By comparison, the Sixers' Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen combined for only three rebounds.

Harkless was 3 of 4 from the floor for 10 points and grabbed four rebounds.

What’s next?
The Sixers now travel to Chicago for a nationally-televised game against the Bulls on Thursday.

The Bulls are still without Derrick Rose, who has been sidelined with a knee injury that took place in Game 1 of the playoffs last spring against the Sixers.

Report: Sixers anthem singer Sevyn had contract barring political statements

Report: Sixers anthem singer Sevyn had contract barring political statements

Sevyn Streeter, the performing artist who claimed Wednesday that the Sixers replaced her for the national anthem because of her intent to wear a jersey with the words "We Matter," signed a contract that prohibited political statements, according to CBS3's Jan Carabeo.

Per the report, Streeter was offered an alternate shirt and told she could wear her own shirt in the stands after the performance.

"I was angry, extremely, extremely angry and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart," Streeter told The Associated Press. "Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that."

The Sixers didn't directly confirm or deny the allegation but responded with the following statement:

"The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community."

This statement is consistent with efforts being made throughout the NBA calling for action over gestures, as detailed in a feature in B/R Mag. 

“I’m past the gestures,” Carmelo Anthony told B/R Mag. “I’m past that. It’s all about creating things now and putting things in motion. So, that’s what I’m on. I’m trying to get guys on board with that and help them understand that — enough of the gesturing and talking and all of that stuff — we need to start putting things in place.” 

Despite shooting struggles, Dario Saric impressive in Sixers' regular-season debut

Despite shooting struggles, Dario Saric impressive in Sixers' regular-season debut

After two years filled with will he or won't he speculation over joining the Sixers, this certainly wasn't the effort Dario Saric had envisioned for his NBA regular-season debut. 

"I felt comfortable, but sometimes it's not your day and this was my bad day," said Saric, who scored five points in the Sixers' 103-97 season-opening loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. "I'll try to watch the video and fix what I can fix and move forward."

The raw numbers look bad. The rookie forward shot 2 of 12 from the field, including 0 of 4 from three-point range. He did notch seven rebounds and two assists, but also contributed two turnovers.

But as you know, numbers don't always tell the story. 

Saric displayed the offensive versatility and headiness on defense that had the Sixers salivating over him for two years while he played for Anadolu Efes in Turkey. He was able to penetrate in the lane several times against the Thunder on Wednesday night and used pump/head fakes to get his defender off balance, but the shots just didn't fall.

"He struggled with his shot," Sixers head coach Bett Brown said. "But just the physical play, some of the intellect of guarding things suddenly that we all might not pay attention to that coaches do. You see him go out of his way to make a rotation, that he just felt the game. I think that some of his pick-and-roll reads on trying to hit cutters, trying to slow up rollers and still go back to shooters like (Ersan) Ilyasova is, stood out to me.

"He's intelligent. He is a smart basketball player. The stats will show that he didn't make some of his shots, but I think that just that gamesmanship, that intellect stands out to me." 

The only time Saric looked a tad overmatched is when OKC went to its mustachioed muscle tandem of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter inside. After the game, Brown lamented leaving Saric in for so long against that pairing, which combined for 33 points and 17 rebounds on the night.

Teammate Jahlil Okafor tried to come to Saric's aid in those moments, but returning from a torn meniscus and on a minutes restriction, his plan wasn't exactly met with enthusiasm by the coaching staff.

"I actually kind of hinted to the coaches that I wanted to play with him (Embiid) because they put Kanter and Adams in," Okafor said. "I was kind of hinting to the coaches that if they want to play big ball we can play big ball with them."

Their response?

"Stay disciplined. Have your lawyer call my lawyer," Okafor said with a laugh. "That's the go-to line."

Even with Saric's few hiccups on defense, Okafor is confident the 22-year-old Croatian will be able to hold his own against NBA players and get the buckets to start dropping on the offensive end.

"I love Dario. It's been a pleasure having him around," Okafor said. "He's such a selfless guy.

"He did struggle a little bit with his shot, but all of the shots that he missed are shots that we know he can make and shots that we've seen him make since he's been here. So we're good. We know what he's going to do."