Instant Replay: Sixers 126, Magic 125 (2OT)

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Instant Replay: Sixers 126, Magic 125 (2OT)

BOX SCORE

The Sixers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 126-125 win over the shorthanded Orlando Magic in double overtime on Tuesday.

With 9.8 seconds to go in the second OT, James Anderson had an opportunity to seal the game at the foul line with a pair of free throws. He missed both shots to keep the Sixers with a three-point advantage.

On the ensuing possession, the Magic got the ball to Arron Afflalo, who had already poured in 43 points. However, this time he drew iron on the shot while the Sixers secured the rebound and the win.

The Sixers improved to 7-12 with the victory. It was the second double overtime game they have won this season at the Wells Fargo Center.

Orlando was without starters Jameer Nelson and Nikola Vucevic in the game with both sidelined because of injuries (see story).

Turning point
With 1:01 to play in the second overtime, Thaddeus Young took a pass from Michael Carter-Williams and hit his patented left-hand floater. It stretched the Sixers’ lead to 125-120, gave Young 25 points on the night and MCW his first career triple-double.

Take a bow
On the day when Carter-Williams was named Eastern Conference Rookie Rookie of the Month for October/November (see story), the point guard put together another impressive performance.

Carter-Williams was 11 of 19 from the floor for 27 points. He added 12 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals.

Fellow rookie Victor Oladipo was equally impressive for the Magic, recording his first-ever triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Oladipo and Carter-Williams have separated themselves to date as the head of this season’s rookie class with everyone else a good distance behind.

Follow the leader
Young posted his third double-double this season with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Young was 3 of 6 from three-point range as he is shooting a career-best 39.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Evan Turner scored 24 points in the win. He made 7 of 16 shots from the floor but connected on 10 of 13 from the free throw line before picking up his sixth foul 30 seconds into the second OT.

Afflalo led all scorers with 43. He made 14 of 27 shots overall, including 5 of 13 from three.

Meanwhile, Glen Davis scored 33 on 15 of 24 shooting. Davis made his first three-pointer since the 2011-12 season with 18.4 seconds to go in regulation, knotting the game at 104.

Stat-egic
The Sixers were dominant on the backboard. They outrebounded the Magic, 56-34.

Also, the Sixers made their free throws for a change. They shot 23 of 33 from the charity stripe.

What’s next?
The Sixers head to Charlotte to face the Bobcats on Friday night when they will be trying to snap a seven-game road losing streak.

The Bobcats average the least points in the NBA per game (89.2), but they allow the second-fewest (91.8).

Former Episcopal Academy standout Gerald Henderson, now in his fifth NBA season, is averaging 14.5 points per game.

Sixers intend to use Ben Simmons, Dario Saric in same lineup

Sixers intend to use Ben Simmons, Dario Saric in same lineup

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Training camp is an opportunity for Brett Brown to assess all the pieces he has available to construct the best roster possible. There are no clear-cut formulas to create the most successful lineups, not when the team has so many players that can be utilized at multiple positions. 

“There are a lot of moving parts,” Brown said Wednesday after Day 2 of training camp. “You’re going to see a bunch of different looks, blue and white. That’s part of my job. That’s part of what I’ve got to get done when we play on opening night.” 

Among these combinations is pairing Dario Saric and Ben Simmons. Given their versatility, the rookies can play multiple positions to share the court. Brown has eyed their size and skills at the two- and three-spots.

“The pluses are you have 6-10, do-alls that really can jump into a very versatile defensive world with perhaps a lot of switching,” Brown said. “I think they’re elite defensive rebounders that can rebound and lead a break and take off. ...

“The disadvantages are, you’re playing two guys out of position that’ve never played a second of NBA basketball and have never played together. It comes down to familiarity, it comes down to some type of comfort level that they’re going to have to navigate and figure out each other a little bit more.”

Saric and Simmons, like the rest of the Sixers, are learning one another’s games in training camp. Saric described Simmons’ skill set as “amazing” considering his stature and speed, noting, “I never played with somebody who’s that [many] kilograms.” 

“I think we will find a way to play together,” Saric said. “I think we can do it. Coach said most of the time we will play together. Maybe I can push the ball, he can push the ball too. ... He’s an unbelievably good passer and I think we’ll find a way how to play and I’m very happy because of that.”

Simmons entered the league touted as a point-forward. Exceeding the combo position, Simmons has played pure point at times, both on the offensive and defensive ends. He has been tapping into the Sixers' guards and veteran leader Elton Brand to help enhance his communication running the floor.

“[The] challenge is probably guarding the point guard position. They’re a lot quicker,” Simmons said. “But I also have a lot more length and strength. I think just being able to get to the rim. Also, if I have a smaller guy I can post it up.”

Saric also has ball handling skills in his arsenal. He grew up playing point guard from ages 8 to 14 before hitting a growth spurt. Saric looked up to Magic Johnson at the position. 

“To make other players happy and to make other players better, I think that’s the role of point guard,” Saric said. 

Brown will use the next four weeks as a trial period to maneuver different combinations and looks, including a towering duo of rookies.  

“Now is the time to do that," Brown said, "with the end game being whenever that type of thing happens, you have something quite special if they’re paired — when they’re paired, because I’m going to play them together — when they start really feeling each other’s game out in the environment that I've put them in a lot better."

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”