By John Denton
February 4, 2013
PHILADELPHIA – Mercifully, Orlando’s five-game, nine-day road trip came to an end Monday night. The final tally: Four injuries, five losses and one downtrodden team that continues to fight despite being badly outmanned.
Missing four-fifths of its starting lineup and a couple of key reserves because of injuries, Orlando’s nine-man squad competed hard throughout but ran out of gas in the second half of a 78-61 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Hardly resembling the team that started the season 12-13 and was an early feel-good story, the Magic (14-34) played with starting center Nikola Vucevic and a group of reserves throughout the game. Already without Glen Davis (fractured foot) for the rest of the season and still without forward Al Harrington (knee surgery), the Magic were further crippled by injuries to Jameer Nelson (bruised forearm), J.J. Redick (sore shoulder), Arron Afflalo (calf strain) and DeQuan Jones (foot sprain).
The 61 points were a season-low for the Magic. Orlando made 34 percent of its shots and hit just one of 12 3-point tries.
``It’s just tough right now because our main scorers and our veteran guys are out right now,’’ Vucevic said. ``But we’re a tough group and we’re going to play hard every night no matter what. We haven’t been winning a lot of games, but we’re playing hard and competing every night. We did that again tonight and hopefully we’ll start getting some wins soon.’’
With just two guards healthy, the Magic narrowly avoided seeing a streak of 457 straight games with at least one made 3-pointer come to an end. Orlando missed its first 10 attempts from beyond the arc before Josh McRoberts (five points, six rebounds and six assists) buried a three from the wing with 3:05 to play. The first time the Magic failed to make a 3-pointer in a game was March 17, 2007.
``Overall, we had really good effort. Seventy-eight points, we gave up, and anytime you do that you give yourself a chance,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. ``But we go one-for-12 from three. If we make six threes, we win by one. But overall we did a good job on the defensive end of the floor.’’
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