'Dwight and Four Shooters' Too Much for Sixers as Magic Win 99-95

'Dwight and Four Shooters' Too Much for Sixers as Magic Win 99-95

"That's a tough team to defend."

Doug Collins repeated that line multiple times after the Sixers 99-95 loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

When Orlando wasn't successfully getting Dwight the ball deep in the paint or tossing him pretty alley-oops that Howard throws down with incredible force, the Magic were swinging the ball so efficiently that their high school basketball coaches were probably smiling with pride.

"It's easy for them because they have Dwight and four shooters," Lou Williams said of the Magic's effective ball movement. "As much as we rotate, every guy's a live ball every time we rotate. It's always tough when you guard a team like that with four shooters and a dominant big man."

It wasn't for a lack of effort on the Sixers part. They rotated well, but by the time the ball got swung to the fourth shooter, they often found Elton Brand trying to come all the way out on JJ Redick or Hedo Trukoglu lining up from long range.

The Sixers tried their best to slow Howard inside, but the Hack-a-Shaq approach to Dwight didn't work so well tonight with Howard hitting an impressive 14-19 free throw attempts. Dwight finished the evening with 30 and 17, only 10 assists away from a triple double.

Maybe the Sixers can watch some tape of Dwight at the line to get some pointers. The Sixers shot an ugly 15-22 from the line themselves, good for 68% on the night.

But it wasn't Howard who killed them late in the fourth, it was the quick ball movement and the four shooters who finally started to find the bottom of the net after a slow shooting start.

"JJ [Redick] hit one, [Jason] Richardson hit one, [Hedo] Turkoglu hit one. You can be up eight or nine on this team and that's a three possession game," Coach Collins said of the Magic's three balls in the fourth.

"All in all I thought our guys played well," Coach Collins said. "I thought we played well. I think [Orlando] showed tonight that they're right no a better team than we are. That's nothing to be discouraged about. That's a team that's picked to possibly get to the conference finals or get to the NBA finals."

Collins got typically solid efforts out of Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, but EB's ability to get and do much with the ball on the block was extremely limited with Howard working the paint. "They did a good job interrupting our offense. We weren't able to get into the lane like we usually do to get easy opportunities," Lou Will said of the Magic's D.

Dre finished with 21 and 8 but also had an atypically rough night taking care of the ball with 5 TOs.

As for the rest of the Sixers offense, Lou Williams lit it up in the fourth after a quiet first three. Lou, who scored 18 of his 23 in the fourth, single-handedly gave the Sixers a chance, hitting a couple of crazy threes in the final moments.

"Those last couple were basically catch up shots," LouWill said. "Before that I was just trying to get myself going and make some aggressive plays, and try and fight and kick until the end."

And fight they did, but the Magic were simply too much for the Sixers on this night. Back at it on Friday night at the Well against another very formidable foe in the San Antonio Spurs.

Could Flyers have trade partner in Avalanche or Kings?

Could Flyers have trade partner in Avalanche or Kings?

The NHL trade deadline is 3 p.m. next Wednesday.

As usual, the number of scouts at Flyers home games again reached double digits during a 4-l loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night (see game story).

Two clubs that have been in Philadelphia quite a bit this month are the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.

The Avs, who are dead last in the NHL, have been trying to move Gabriel Landeskog and/or Matt Duchene for quite a while. They would love to do a deal with the Flyers, according to an NHL source.

Colorado is looking for a top forward and defensive help. A number of NHL clubs realize the Flyers have a slew of young upcoming defensemen and not all of them are going to be able to play here, certainly at the same time.

The Kings are in search of a left wing who might be a nice fit with Anze Kopitar, but the Flyers don’t have a left wing they can part with and, frankly, would love to have a scoring winger themselves to pair with Claude Giroux.

Some of the 10 clubs here on Wednesday night are in need of a backup goalie for a playoff run. Perhaps even the Kings, if Jonathan Quick doesn’t return soon. L.A. waived Jeff Zatkoff on Wednesday.

Scouts say there is a market for Michal Neuvirth right now if the Flyers want to move him. He’s been playing a lot and he’s been very sharp and healthy, which is always a factor when talking about him.

Neuvirth made his fifth consecutive start in Wednesday’s game against the Capitals and is expected in net Saturday night at Heinz Field for the Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Flyers need a goaltender under contract to expose in this summer’s expansion draft and both Neuvirth and Steve Mason can be unrestricted free agents.

Zatkoff could be that guy if the Flyers claimed him and moved one of their goalies now.

If you’re general manager Ron Hextall, the Flyers' numbers offer a compelling reason to be a seller: 3-6-1 since coming out of the All-Star break and 9-15-4 since the club’s 10-game win streak in mid-December.

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

On Wednesday, the Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second-round pick, as well as the option to swap 2017 second-round selections (see story).

"I want to thank Ersan Ilyasova for his positive contributions to this organization both on and off the basketball court," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. "Ersan is a true professional whose daily examples of hard work, focus and consistency have helped facilitate the ongoing growth of our program and culture."

The Sixers took to Instagram to express their appreciation for Ilyasova’s leadership. Ilyasova quickly embraced the role of a veteran go-to when he was traded to the Sixers in early November. Both posts below exemplify his team-first mentality.

✊🏼 A true Pro @ersanilyasova7

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Thanks for being a great teammate @ersanilyasova7. Wishing you the best in ATL

A post shared by Rob Covington (@atf_33) on