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

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

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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 burned by yet another point guard in loss to Celtics

Sixers burned by yet another point guard in loss to Celtics

The Sixers had been burned by point guards before. Many times, actually. 

Just a week ago, Kyrie Irving dropped 39 points in the Cavs' 112-108 win. Nineteen came in the decisive fourth quarter. 

On Saturday Isaiah Thomas did the same damage. The undersized All-Star tied his season-high with 37 points in the Celtics' comeback 107-106 victory (see instant replay).

“Isaiah’s an All-Star,” Jahlil Okafor said. “He showed us why tonight. He’s the head of their team and came up big for them like he usually does.” 

Thomas made his impact in spurts. During the Celtics' 9-0 second quarter run, he scored six of those points. In the fourth quarter, in which the game was decided, he dropped 12 straight Celtics points. Thomas finished the night 11 for 19 for the field and only 2 of 3 from three. 

The most telling stat was at the free throw line. Thomas shot 13 for 15 after attacking and drawing fouls, a point of emphasis by head coach Brad Stevens for the second half. 

Thomas scored 15 points in the first half. He noticed a change in the Sixers defense in the second and capitalized on it. The Celtics ability to stretch the floor with their three-point shooting bigs also created opportunities for Thomas to get to the rim. 

“In the second half they sat back a little bit and they were switching a lot,” Thomas explained, also noting, “We wanted to put Okafor in a pick-and-roll. He sits far back. I just wanted to attack him downhill. It’s hard for bigs to move those bigs legs they’ve got. So I just tried to stay in attack mode and I saw we were in the bonus.”

The Sixers have had problems defending the one spot all season. Isaiah Thomas is the fifth starting point guard to score 30 points or more against them. He joins Russell Westbrook (32), Jeff Teague (30 in overtime), James Harden (33) and Irving. Another five (Kemba Walker, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry) have scored 20 or more points. 

The oneness of these high-scoring point guards doesn’t fall solely on the Sixers backcourt, where Sergio Rodriguez has been assuming the starting role in place of the oft-injured Jerryd Bayless. These opponents have been doing their work inside the arc. Of the five who have scored 30, only two (Harden and Irving) attempted more than three treys. 

“We’re all working hard trying to stop them, but it’s easier said than done,” Okafor said. 

The next point guard the Sixers will face is Emmanuel Mudiay when they take on the Nuggets Monday. Last season Mudiay hit the game-winning, buzzer-beating three in Denver. 

Instant Replay: Celtics 107, Sixers 106

Instant Replay: Celtics 107, Sixers 106

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Rewind 24 hours.

The Sixers were walking off the court Friday night after a dismal blowout loss to the Magic that left Brett Brown reflecting on Saturday, “Here in Philadelphia, at home, that’s not good enough.”

The Sixers had lacked fire and grit, especially with Joel Embiid on the floor against a sub-.500 Magic team that had played the night before in Memphis. 

They had a day to turn it around. A playoff contending Celtics squad was coming to town and Embiid wasn’t available because of his back-to-back limitations. The shorthanded Sixers (see below) had a tall task ahead of them. 

The Sixers reacted by jumping out early and kept the Celtics at bay in the first half. Even when the Celtics cut their lead to three midway through the second quarter, the Sixers responded with an 8-0 burst to go up by a game-high 11 points. 

The Celtics exposed the Sixers' defensive void in the paint without Embiid in the third. With the Sixers up 65-58, Isaiah Thomas drew a foul against Jahlil Okafor. That play sparked a 9-0 Celtics run over the next two minutes, in which Thomas scored six of those points (including four at the line). The Celtics took back the lead during that stretch and forced the Sixers to play catchup.

The Sixers cut the Celtics lead to one in the fourth with a three from Dario Saric, who played one of his most aggressive games of his short NBA career. After the Celtics jumped back up by seven, the Sixers kept fighting and tied the game 100 apiece. The Celtics were able to pull away and finished with a one-point win, 107-106, after Ersan Ilyasova drained a three at the buzzer. 

Inside the stats
Thomas exploded for 37 points (11 for 19 from the field, 2 for 3 from three, 13 for 15 from the line), four rebounds, and seven assists.

Saric recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, both tying career-highs. 

Ersan Ilyasova dropped 18 points, including three treys, and six rebounds.

Okafor and Sergio Rodriguez scored 15 apiece, with Rodriguez adding eight assists. 

Avery Bradley dropped 20 points and nine rebounds. 

Stauskas starts in place of Covington
Brown turned to shooting guard Nik Stauskas to slide over to the three spot in place of the injured Robert Covington (see below). 

“Boston’s perimeter defense is as good as it is in the NBA,” Brown explained. “I think you need to have more ball handlers, people who can make a play, on the perimeter … I feel that Nik has that ability to put it to the floor and disrupt that aggressive pressure that the Celtics backcourt can put on you.”

Broken ankles
Saric came up with the Sixers' highlight play of the game when he did this to Jonas Jerebko in the third quarter for an instant highlight reel moment. 

Always a student
Not playing, still learning. Embiid has been praised for being an eager student of the game. During warmups he sat courtside to watch film on a laptop even though he wasn’t suiting up. 

Injury updates
Joel Embiid is not playing in back-to-back games and sat out the back end of this home-home series for rest … Robert Covington sat out with a sprained left knee he suffered on Friday after colliding with T.J. McConnell chasing a ball out of bounds … Jerryd Bayless missed his fourth straight game with left wrist soreness. 

Up next
The Sixers host the Nuggets on Monday night.