Magic 103, 76ers 87

As Orlando prepared to play its 30th game of the season, coach

Stan Van Gundy made it clear that the Magic’s defense wasn’t close

to where it needed to be.

Luckily for Van Gundy, the Magic are producing more than enough

offense – particularly from the 3-point line – to get by for

now.

Ryan Anderson had seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points, Dwight

Howard added 17 points and 14 rebounds and the Magic shot their way

past the Philadelphia 76ers, 103-87 on Wednesday night.

Orlando earned its third straight victory, made 15 of 25

attempts from 3-point range, had all five starters reach double

figures for the second consecutive game and avenged a loss to the

Sixers last month that was the capstone of a season-high, four-game

losing skid.

”I think we just wanted to move on from that bad stretch,”

said Anderson, who hit his first four 3-point attempts. ”We knew

how we could play. We played like this in segments earlier in the

season. We want to make this a consistent thing coming out with a

ton of effort and energy.”

Jason Richardson had 14 points, including four 3s.

Point guard Jameer Nelson, who tied a career-high 14 assists to

go along with 12 points said he is most impressed with how Anderson

is finding his own opportunities offensively.

”People don’t understand that this guy is averaging 16 or 17

points without having a playing called for him all season,” he

said. ”(Anderson’s) just growing. He’s developed a lot of

confidence. We’ve always had confidence in him as a group. We

always knew he was a great player and probably one of the greatest

shooters in the league.”

The Magic have hit 68 3-pointers in their last five games. They

are 4-1 over that span and have won seven of nine since their Jan.

30 loss in Philadelphia.

It is a hot streak that even Van Gundy has no choice but to

marvel at. Though he said his team’s unselfishness on the offensive

end has been the most welcomed occurrence from his perspective.

As a team, Orlando shot 53 percent from the field (40 for 75)

and had 30 points in the paint.

”Those have always been our better offensive games when we have

a lot of people involved and shots are fairly balanced,” Van Gundy

said.

Louis Williams led Philadelphia with 21 points and seven

assists, and Andre Iguodala had 15 points. The loss ended the

76ers’ winning streak at two.

Sixers coach Doug Collins wasn’t surprised at all with how

Orlando’s shots were falling.

”They’ve been shooting like that,” he said. ”Them being solid

like that ain’t a mystery…We had a horrible start to the game,

fought back to get in it, had a horrible finish to the second

quarter, to get it to within six and then give them a 10-0 run. And

then we’re fighting uphill the entire night.”

Philadelphia also helped out with 14 turnovers that led to 13

Magic points.

”In the past we have had issues with just banging teams,”

Williams said. ”They are a match up problem for us, but we were

able to trump them in the first game because we got our work done

early. Tonight, they got off to a good start and we were not able

to bounce back.”

The Magic’s 16-point halftime lead was cut to eight at 88-80

with less than 5 minutes to play in the game.

But Orlando quickly responded with an 8-2 spurt, capped by

consecutive 3-pointers by Anderson and Richardson, to make it

97-82.

Two more 3-pointers by the Magic a few possessions later – both

following Sixers turnovers – got it to 103-86 with under a minute a

play to put the game out of reach.

The Magic’s strong shooting night started early as they sizzled

offensively in the first half and led 55-39, connecting on 57

percent (22 for 38) of their attempts overall from the field and 53

percent (7 for 13) from beyond the arc.

Anderson led all scorers in the half with 14 points.

Howard was just as active inside, with 13 points and seven

rebounds. As a team the Magic outscored the Sixers 20-10 in the

paint.

Williams had 11 first-half points to the lead the Sixers. But

they turned it over eight times, leading to eight Orlando points on

the other end – setting a tone that continued in the final 24

minutes.

Van Gundy has been hard on himself recently after the Magic’s

losses, but took no credit for how well his team looked against the

Sixers.

”When you play well, it’s always the players,” Van Gundy said.

”They decide when they’re going to play with energy, when they’re

going to move the ball. They make that decision.”

Notes: Howard had his 23rd double-double of the season. …F

Glen Davis played his second game since the passing of his father

on Sunday. Davis, who previously took a sabbatical from the team

after his grandmother’s death last month, was set to leave again

after Wednesday’s game to be with family. Van Gundy said there’s no

specific timetable for his return. … The Sixers fell to 0-6 this

season when their opponent scores at least 100 points.