Instant Replay: Magic 98, Sixers 84

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Instant Replay: Magic 98, Sixers 84

BOX SCORE

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.

Stat-egic
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.

Best of NBA: Spurs smack Cavs from top of Eastern Conference

Best of NBA: Spurs smack Cavs from top of Eastern Conference

SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cleveland Cavaliers 103-74 on Monday night in a showdown that turned into a major letdown for the defending NBA champions.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who won their fifth straight.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

In addition to scoring a season-low 17 points, Cavaliers superstar LeBron James was injured late in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the base of his neck. He remained on the bench for a while receiving medical attention, then headed toward the locker room and didn't return to the game.

His status was not immediately known (see full recap).

Thunder use late run to surge past Mavs
DALLAS -- Russell Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper with seven seconds left and the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 13-point deficit in the final four minutes to beat the Dallas Mavericks 92-91 on Monday night.

Westbrook scored 37 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, with 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his third straight triple-double and 37th of the season.

The Thunder finished on a 14-0 run, capped when they gained possession on a replay reversal with 13 seconds to go and Westbrook hit the decisive shot from just beyond the free throw line over Wesley Matthews. Westbrook scored 12 of the final 14 points.

Dallas didn't call a timeout, and Harrison Barnes missed a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer, clinching the first losing season for the Mavericks (31-42) since 1999-2000, the season that owner Mark Cuban bought the team with Dirk Nowitzki in his second year (see full recap).

DeRozan, Raptors notch 6th straight victory
TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored 36 points and Cory Joseph had 15 points and 13 assists as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 131-112 on Monday night for their sixth straight victory.

DeRozan, selected the Eastern Conference player of the week earlier in the day, set the pace early by scoring 18 in the first quarter. Joseph added six rebounds and Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors (45-29).

Elfrid Payton had 22 points and nine assists for Orlando (27-47). Evan Fournier added 20 points, and Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and 15 assists.

It was the first game between the teams since the Raptors traded Terrence Ross to the Magic for Serge Ibaka in February.

Ross finished with 17 points and two rebounds, while Ibaka had 16 points and seven rebounds (see full recap).

Report: Kings receive permission from Sixers to speak with Sam Hinkie

Report: Kings receive permission from Sixers to speak with Sam Hinkie

You can't make this stuff up.

After getting what is generally regarded as fleeced once upon a time by former Sixers general manager and president Sam Hinkie, the Sacramento Kings are reportedly interested in his services.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein and Zach Lowe on Monday, the Kings have expressed exploratory interest in Hinkie. Sources told ESPN that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive sought and received permission from Sixers owner Josh Harris to speak with Hinkie.

The Kings needed the Sixers' permission to speak with Hinkie because the executive is forced to sit out the entire 2016-17 season based on a non-compete clause in his contract that took effect when he resigned in April 2016.

The report states Hinkie's level of interest in the Kings or what his role would be alongside current president/GM Vlade Divac was not immediately known. It also says other undisclosed teams have sought permission to speak to Hinkie.

The Kings later released a statement denying the report: "The Kings are not hiring Sam Hinkie and have no plans to bring anyone in above Vlade."

Hinkie, hired prior to the 2012-13 season, engineered the Sixers' massive rebuild. The team struggled mightily during his three seasons at the helm as it finished with a 47-199 record. He stepped down on April 6 of last year and his role as team president was ultimately filled by Bryan Colangelo.

However, Hinkie set the Sixers up for the future by his continued flipping of players for assets. That includes perhaps his best deal, which involved the Kings.

In July 2015, Hinkie dealt the rights to Arturas Gudaitis and Luka Mitrovic to Sacramento for Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson. More importantly, the Sixers also got the rights to swap first-round picks in the 2016 and 2017 NBA drafts and an unprotected first-rounder in 2019.

The Kings made moves to recoup some of those lost assets at this season's trade deadline when they shipped star big man DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi for 2016 No. 6 overall pick Buddy Hield along with veterans Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway and a 2017 second-round pick.

"But I believe we are going to be in a better position in two years," Divac said to the Sacramento Bee. "I want to hear again from these same people in two years. If I'm right, great. If I'm wrong, I'll step down. But if I go down, I'm going down my way."

Hinkie went down in Philadelphia on his own terms, too. Now his terms may involve working with Divac -- or even taking over his job.

Just remember, Vlade, trust the process.