One way to try to win a game: Go up by six early in the first quarter and look to build on that lead.
One way to lose a game: Squander that advantage and give up a 16-0 run to the opponent.
The Sixers' effort to beat the Magic ended almost as quickly as it began. The Magic outscored the Sixers 21-14 in the first and put the game out of reach in the third with a 21-point lead going into the fourth.
The Sixers fell, 105-88, to the Magic in spite of increased playing time for Joel Embiid (26:56).
Inside the stats
Joel Embiid recorded a double-double with 25 points (10 for 21 from the field) and 10 rebounds, as well as four assists. Jahlil Okafor did the same with 16 points (8 for 10 from the field) and a season-high 13 boards.
Aaron Gordon led the Magic with 20 points (9 for 14 from the field).
Nikola Vucevic also had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double with five assists off the bench.
The Sixers shot just 6 for 26 (23.1 percent) from the field in the first quarter.
Embiid, Okafor play together
As anticipated, Sixers head coach Brett Brown paired Embiid and Okafor together against bigs Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo.
They shared the court for 5:29 in the second quarter, during which the Sixers outscored the Magic, 12-9. The duo scored all of the Sixers' points during that span and combined for five rebounds. This combination allowed the Sixers to stretch the floor; Embiid made two threes in this spurt.
Brown gave them another look in the fourth for over seven minutes when the Magic already had put the game away. This time they totaled 12 points and four rebounds, as the Sixers and Magic both scored 19 apiece during this stretch. Toward the end, Okafor was matched up with swingman Jeff Green.
Robert Covington left the game in the fourth quarter with a left knee sprain after colliding with T.J. McConnell in front of the Sixers' bench chasing for a loose ball.
Jerryd Bayless (left wrist soreness) missed his third straight game. He is questionable for Saturday against the Celtics.
Before Embiid and Biyombo faced off in the NBA, they got to know each other before Embiid entered the league. The two bigs became friends in 2014 when they met training in Los Angeles while Embiid was preparing for the draft.
“He’s still the same guy,” Biyombo said. “Nothing’s changed with his goofy personality.”
No rest for the Sixers. On Saturday they will host the Celtics for the back end of a back-to-back. Two days later, they play the Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday.