In addition to holding the Magic to a building-worst 61 points, the Sixers’ defense also held the Magic to 33.8 percent shooting from the field. The Magic went 1 for 12 from three-point range. … The Magic committed just five fouls on Monday night, which ties an NBA record for the fewest fouls in a game. On Dec. 20, 1999, the Mavericks committed just five fouls against San Antonio. … Holiday had just one turnover in 41 minutes. Holiday had eight turnovers on Friday night against Sacramento. … Orlando lost its 10th straight game on Monday. It also was its 21st loss in the last 23 games.
To that, the Sixers may have won the battle but could lose the war.
That certainly seems to be the case after the Sixers won their third straight game for the first time in more than two months, but lost Thad Young to a hamstring injury (see Instant Replay). Sure, the Sixers held the Magic (14-34) to a record-low scoring game by an opponent at the Wells Fargo Center, but the price was steep.
For now, the Sixers are saying Young has a hamstring strain and he’s going to miss a few games. The team also announced that Young will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.
“Thad’s the one guy on our team that will dive for those loose balls,” head coach Doug Collins said. “He lays himself out and, unfortunately, he got hurt on the play.”
The injury came with 5:46 remaining in the first half when Young was battling Orlando’s Gustavo Ayon for a rebound after a missed shot by Nik Vucevic. When the ball got loose and was bouncing toward the Sixers’ bench, Young laid out to keep it in bounds and appeared to overextend his left leg.
Spencer Hawes corralled the rebound and while the Sixers began to set up their offense, Young was writhing on the floor in front of the bench, clearly in serious pain.
“Thad does so much for this team on both ends of the floor and in the locker room,” Hawes said. “It’s tough to see someone go down, especially on that kind of play. I didn’t see the whole thing, but I saw him going after it. You can’t replace someone like that with what he brings every night. We’re going to have to figure it out as a team how we’re going to be able to compensate for what we lose without his presence there.”
Young’s injury is significant for a multitude of reasons. For one, he’s been the Sixers’ most consistent performer this season, routinely a threat for a double-double and always ready to inject energy into the team’s defense. In fact, last week Young was given the assignment to guard Carmelo Anthony, Zach Randolph, Nene and DeMarcus Cousins in consecutive games. With Young leading the defense, the Sixers won three out of four games.
And as one of the team’s captains, Young not only leads by showing off energy and grit, but also he’s been an inspirational leader in the locker room, too.
If there is one player the Sixers can ill-afford to lose at this point, it’s Young.
“We’re going to need someone to step up,” said Jrue Holiday, who scored 13 points and dished out 14 assists. “Big time.”
So with Young out indefinitely and All-Star center Andrew Bynum expected to return sometime in February, Collins’ crew is going to need some help in the frontcourt. Against the shorthanded Magic, missing their top four scorers -- including Chester and St. Joe’s alum, Jameer Nelson -- Collins turned to Hawes, Lavoy Allen and rookie Arnett Moultrie.
Hawes delivered, posting 21 points on 9-for-17 shooting with a season-high 14 rebounds in 37 minutes. Allen also contributed, scoring 10 points and six rebounds, while Moultire played a career-high 12 minutes.
“We did what we were supposed to do tonight,” Collins said. “We beat a team with a ton of injuries. That’s the positive side.”
When Indiana comes to town on Wednesday with a beefy lineup up front, Collins is going to have his work cut out for him. Expect to see Hawes, Allen and, yes, even Moultrie, get a few more minutes.
“I was very pleased with Arnett tonight,” Collins said. “He was in the right spots, he ducked into the post and he stepped up and hit a jump shot. He’s turning the corner. I think he’s starting to understand what it means to be an NBA player and we’re going to need him.”