Cohen: Magic-Sixers Postgame Analysis

By Josh Cohen
February 9, 2011

It may not have been quite as dramatic as two miraculous four-point plays, but just like that memorable night in Orlando a few weeks ago, Wednesday’s victory over the 76ers was just as awe-inspiring.

Timely outside shooting, sensational transition defense and, naturally, dominance from Dwight Howard assured the Magic their 14th triumph in the last 16 meetings against the Sixers.

Aside from several standout individual and team statistics, the Magic should be proud of how well they worked together, especially in the last few minutes.

Ball movement was exceptional, defensive switches were executed and Orlando’s decision-making was outstanding.

One play in particular virtually summed it up.

After Philadelphia’s Lou Williams buried one of his few outside jumpers to pull the Sixers within two with 26.9 seconds left, the Magic remained patient and perfected an outlet pass that resulted in a momentous three-point play.

Rather than just dribble away from the defense in the backcourt, J.J. Redick located a wide-open Howard on the other end and just like the big man tends to do, he flushed home a monster jam, drew the foul and hit one of his 14 made free throws.

But Redick did much more than just make quality decisions. Perhaps making a statement for not being invited to participate in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout at All-Star Weekend, J.J. drained three pivotal shots in the fourth to keep Orlando in front.

Josh Cohen
Howard was, like usual, supreme – pouring in 30 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and connecting on 14-of-19 foul shots. He also was the recipient of a couple of alley-oops from Hedo Turkoglu, who also came alive in the second half and finished with 10 points and six assists.

“I love the way we played,” Head Coach Stan Van Gundy said. “This was our best win in a while.”

"It was a refreshing win," Redick said. "This isn't a game that we've won in what seems like a while."

Partially because it was playing against a team that had previously won seven of nine and also because it was playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Orlando should have some extra confidence as it departs from Philadelphia.

One Magic player that incontrovertibly has a smile on his face is Jameer Nelson, who celebrated his 29th birthday in front of his hometown fans. A Chester, PA native and formerly an All-American while playing collegiately at St. Joseph, Nelson delivered a quality performance with 12 points and eight assists.

Plenty of his fans hung around to cheer Nelson on after he did an interview for Sun Sports.

The Magic now play seven straight contests at Amway Center – including upcoming games against two Western Conference powers, the Hornets and Lakers.

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