76ers top Magic 78-61
Young was out for the game – and the 76ers’ top rebounder could be out for two weeks.
His injury knocked the wind out of the Sixers on a night they matched their season-high tying three-game win streak. Spencer Hawes had 21 points and 14 rebounds and Jrue Holiday had 13 points and 14 assists to lead Philadelphia to a 78-61 win over the short-handed Orlando Magic on Monday night.
”This is a game you’re supposed to win,” coach Doug Collins said. ”But it’s a big loss with Thad.”
Young was scheduled to have an MRI on his left hamstring Tuesday. Young, averaging 15.1 points and 7.4 rebounds, needed assistance as he hobbled back to the locker room.
”It’s bad news, man,” Sixers guard Nick Young said. ”Thad’s one of our anchors on our team. Lose him for a couple of games while we’re trying to make a push, it’s tough.”
Nick Young had 15 points to help the Sixers win three straight games for the first time since the final three games of November. Hawes and Young both scored big buckets during a 14-1 run in the third quarter that helped the Sixers put away the undermanned Magic.
Orlando listed six players as inactive in its 10th straight loss. E’Twaun Moore had 18 points and Nik Vucevic grabbed 14 rebounds.
The Sixers lost leading rebounder Thaddeus Young to a strained left hamstring late in the first half.
Each team lived up to their futile free-throw shooting numbers: The Sixers were 3 of 5 and Orlando 6 of 8. The Magic were attempting 16 free-throws a game and the Sixers 16.9. Orlando missed 11 of 12 3-pointers and the Sixers missed 17 of 20.
Nick Young’s 3-pointer and Hawes’ thunderous baseline dunk during the third-quarter spurt pushed the lead from three points to 58-42. From there, the Sixers cruised, getting a rare, comfortable win at home. Philadelphia improved to 15-11 at home.
The Magic had six players out, notably leading scorer Arron Afflalo (strained left calf), Jameer Nelson (bruised left forearm), J.J. Redick (sore right shoulder) and Glen Davis (broken left foot). DeQuan Jones (sore left foot) and Al Harrington (right knee) also sat out.
Orlando started Moore and Ish Smith in the backcourt and Vucevic, Josh McRoberts and Maurice Harkless in the frontcourt.
”I really give credit to the character of the guys that suit up and play,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. ”They had it in their minds that we were going to come here and play hard and try and get a win. Nothing less.”
Orlando is the only NBA team with multiple double-digit losing streaks and the 61 points was the second-fewest allowed by the Sixers since the shot clock era began in the 1954-55 season.
Harkless and Vucevic were acquired from the Sixers in the four-team trade that sent Lakers All-Star center Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. While Bynum has yet to play this season because of bone bruises in both knees, Vucevic has blossomed into a double-double threat. Vucevic, who played only 3 total minutes in Philadelphia’s two postseason series last season, has averaged 12.1 points and 11.3 rebounds and clearly found a home in Orlando.
”We knew that Nik was going to be a tremendous player,” Collins said. ”Obviously, to have to give him up was not something we wanted to do. But in order to make the Andrew Bynum deal, we had to do that.”
Bynum is inching closer to a debut and said before the game he was still on target for a mid-February return. Bynum received an injection of Synvisc – a gel-like substance that sometimes provides relief for inflamed tissue – last week. The natural substance is designed to lubricate and cushion the joint.
He said he still feels some pain in the left knee, but the right knee is ”phenomenal.”
”I just want the first game to come,” Bynum said. ”I definitely won’t be nervous.”
The Sixers are a bit on edge after losing Thaddeus Young. Lavoy Allen played the bulk of the minutes in the second half.
”Thad’s the one guy on our team that will dive for those loose balls,” Collins said. ”He lays himself out and, unfortunately, he got hurt on that play.”
Young went down not far from entertainer Will Smith, who owns a small stake in the 76ers. Smith sat a few seats down from the Sixers’ bench and waved to the crowd when he was shown on the big screen.
After Nick Young wowed the crowd in the first quarter with a 360-degree fastbreak dunk, one security guard exclaimed, ”That’s why he’s showing off, Will Smith’s down there!”
But the fun didn’t last long. The Magic sliced a 16-point hole down to 42-35 at the break. Vucevic had 12 rebounds to show his old team a dose of what they’re missing in the paint.
NOTES: Allen turned 24 on Monday. … Nelson said he was hit in the ”funny part of my forearm,” and shouldn’t miss much time. The former Saint Joseph’s All-American exchanged a big postgame hug with Hawks coach Phil Martelli. … 76ers G Jason Richardson (left knee) sat out again. Collins said Richardson could be out for some time.
Source: Associated Press