Magic Musings: Orlando picks perfect time, place for first victory
The Orlando Magic couldn’t have picked a better time and a more appropriate place to get their first win of the season Wednesday night.
Tobias Harris’ step-back jump shot at the buzzer gave the Magic a 91-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Dating back to last season, the Magic had lost 28 of their last 29 road games, including two to begin this season. That only victory came at the expense of the 76ers on Feb. 26.
Harris had given the Magic an 89-87 lead with 51.6 remaining with a basket off an assist by rookie point guard Elfrid Payton, who came up with several big plays down the stretch. Although Payton’s streak of games with handing out at least seven assists came to an end, his five assists and four steals were both team highs.
Playing the second game of a road back-to-back, the Magic committed 17 turnovers in the first half. But that was offset by 38 points in the paint as they finished the half tied at 52.
Neither team led by more than eight points all night in the matchup of 0-4 teams. While the Sixers got 27 points from guard Tony Wroten and 20 from forward Brandon Davies, they lost rookie center Nerlens Noel to a sprained left ankle in the third quarter.
Both teams remained without their star rookies from a year ago. The Magic played without Victor Oladipo (facial fracture), while the Sixers did not have the NBA Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams (right shoulder).
Channing Frye had 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for the Magic in their only visit to Philadelphia all season.
THE TURNING POINT
After the Sixers tied the score at 89 on a jumper from the top of the key by Henry Sims, Harris worked his way open coming out of a timeout, took a pass from Evan Fournier, and knocked down the game-winning shot.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Harris, who had 21 points and nine rebounds Tuesday night at Chicago, followed that up with 18 points and eight rebounds.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Magic finished with a 50-37 advantage in rebounds despite getting only five in 36 minutes from Nikola Vucevic, who saw his streak of games with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds snapped at four.
Friday night vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m.