Magic's deja vu against Philadelphia
By DAVID STEELE
Orlando Magic Play-By-Play Announcer
Feb. 9, 2011
It had the feel of the game played exactly three weeks earlier between the same two teams in Orlando.
On January 19, the Philadelphia 76ers had a 4 point lead over the Magic late in the fourth quarter, only to lose the game after Orlando's Jason Richardson was fouled by Andre Iguodala on a three-point shot. Richardson hit the game-tying free throw, and the Magic won in overtime. The miracle on Church Street.
Wednesday night in Philly, roles were reversed. It was Orlando holding a four-point lead over the Sixers with the clock ticking down. Philly's Jodie Meeks rose into the air for a three-point attempt with the Magic's J.J. Redick closing in, but Redick slid harmlessly by, Meek's shot was wide right. There was no four-point play this time. No miracle on Broad Street for the Sixers.
For the Magic, it was victory on back to back nights. On Tuesday they pulled away from the L.A. Clippers in the fourth quarter to win 101-85. Wednesday's 99-95 outcome over the Sixers moved the Magic into a fourth place tie with Atlanta in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
-- The Sixers entered the game ranked third in the NBA in fast break points with more than 17 per game. The Magic were first in defending against fast break baskets. Advantage: Orlando. The Magic had 17 fast break points to 12 for Philadelphia.
-- Since the roster makeover of December 18, the Magic are playing a more up-tempo game (as evidenced by the increasing number of fast break points), and are passing the ball better. Against the Sixers Wednesday night Orlando had 25 assists on 35 made field goals.
-- J.J. Redick sparked the Magic in the fourth quarter in Philadelphia. Redick scored seven of his 13 points in final 12 minutes, (including a timely three-pointer), took a charge against Meeks and made a key length of the floor pass to Dwight Howard, under pressure, after the Sixers had cut Orlando's lead to two with 20 seconds to play.
-- Speaking of Howard. He followed up a 22-point, 20-rebound game against the Clippers with 30 points and 17 rebounds against the Sixers. He doesn't just play hard every night, he plays almost every possession all out. If there is a more valuable player to his team than Howard, I don't know who it would be.
-- It turned out to be a nice birthday celebration for Jameer Nelson. The Chester, Penn., native managed to provide tickets for 72 friends and family members on his 29th birthday, and not get too distracted. No easy task. After a shaky first quarter, Nelson settled into a nice rhythm, finishing the night with 12 points, eight assists, just two turnovers and a somewhat lighter wallet, proving once again, that nice guys don't always finish last.
-- Next for the Magic, six consecutive games at the Amway Center with nary a trip outside of the Sunshine State for the remainder of the month of February. Friday night, All-Star point guard Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets come to Orlando hoping to snap a four game losing streak.