FINAL: ORLANDO MAGIC 95, PHILADELPHIA 76ers 85


GameNight Specifics
NBA Coverage: Game Info
Date: Monday, April 11
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Wells Fargo Center (PHILADELPHIA, PA)
Radio: AM 580 WDBO, AM 1270 WRLZ
Television: FS Florida, NBA TV



PROJECTED MATCHUPS

LINEUPS MAY CHANGE BY GAME TIME


TEAM
PG
SG
C
PF
SF
R
R
MAGIC
Jameer Nelson

Jason Richardson

Dwight Howard

Brandon Bass

Hedo Turkoglu

Gilbert Arenas

Ryan Anderson
76ERS
Jrue Holiday

Jodie Meeks

Spencer Hawes

Elton Brand

Andre Iguodala

Thaddeus Young

Evan Turner





















GAME RECAP


PHILADELPHIA (AP) Dwight Howard returned from suspension to score 19 points, grab 13 rebounds and lead the Orlando Magic to a 95-85 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

Howard served an NBA suspension Sunday after picking up his 18th technical foul. He wasn't bothered by the refs - or the Sixers - in his return. Howard dominated the boards with no one in the undersized Sixers lineup able to stop his one-handed jams and alley-oops.

Ryan Anderson had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson scored 19 points for the Magic, who had a 23-rebound edge at one point in the second quarter and used a 16-2 run in the third to shake off the pesky Sixers.

Elton Brand led the Sixers with 22 points. Philadelphia is stuck on 41 wins and needs one in Wednesday's finale for its first winning record since 2004-05.

For the Sixers, this a 48-minute preview of what could be ahead in a likely postseason matchup against Miami. They hustled, never quit, made a big run, but they don't have the talent to match up over the long haul with guys like Howard and Nelson, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

The encouraging numbers for the Sixers weren't found in the stat sheet, but in their bios. They started four players under 24: Evan Turner (22), Spencer Hawes (22), Jodie Meeks (23) and Jrue Holiday (20). It's a promising nucleus that the Sixers expect to grow into a contender, even if taking their lumps against the Heat is part of the process.

Each team was shorthanded in their penultimate games of the season.

Philadelphia played without swingman Andre Iguodala (knee tendinitis) and guard Lou Williams (hamstring), who missed his fourth straight game. Sixers coach Doug Collins wanted to give Iguodala some rest before the playoffs start, and he's not sure if Iguodala will play in Wednesday's finale against Detroit.

Gilbert Arenas (sore leg) missed the game for Orlando, J.J. Redick missed his 16th straight game with a lower abdominal strain, and Quentin Richardson served the second of a two-game suspension for shoving Charlotte's Gerald Henderson in the face during a win last week.

Led by Howard and Anderson, the Magic destroyed the Sixers on the boards. At one point in the second quarter, the Magic had outrebounded the Sixers 25-2. Yes, 25-2.

The Magic went into halftime with 22 points in the paint and held the Sixers without any second-chance points.

Even with those lopsided numbers, the Magic only led 50-47 at the break. The Sixers made more baskets from the field and the free-throw line, and Andres Nocioni hit a pair of 3s during a 14-0 run that lifted them back into the game.

Holiday's 3-pointer early in the third gave the Sixers their first lead of the game, 54-52.

Then the fun ended for Philly.

The Magic scored the first 11 points of a 16-2 run that put the game way. Nelson both fed Howard on a rim-wrecking alley-oop and hit a 3 during the run.

Former Sixers coach Jim O'Brien once said Nelson wasn't "best suited for the Sixers" before the 2004 draft. Nelson, the Chester, Pa., native and former Saint Joseph's star, looked right at home on Monday.

Anderson hit 3s late in the third and early in the fourth to build a 17-point lead, and Orlando's 51st win was a formality.

Notes: Howard says he won't change the way he plays even as his technical foul total earns him league-mandated suspensions. "Why switch up who I am?" he said. ... The Magic finished 23-18 on the road. They finished with a winning road record for the fourth straight season. ... Holiday had 15 points and 11 assists.





DENTON'S RECAP AT 76ers


The postseason doesn’t start until the weekend, but considering the way the Orlando Magic shared the ball, defended with passion and dismantled the much-improved Philadelphia 76ers Monday night, they look ready for the playoffs.

The Magic started the game off with some hot shooting and systematically dismantled the Sixers in a dominant and lopsided third period of a 95-85 rout of Philadelphia in the next-to-last regular season game.

The Magic (51-30) thrived on both ends of the floor and used a 33-10 run to break open a three-point game at halftime. With two-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard back in the lineup following a one-game suspension, Orlando held Philadelphia to 15 points and 27 percent shooting in the third quarter for the run-away victory.

Howard pounded the Sixers for 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots, while point guard Jameer Nelson had a big night (19 points, seven assists and five 3-pointers) playing before approximately 400 fans from his charitable foundation in nearby Chester, Pa. And Magic reserve power forward Ryan Anderson delivered his second stellar shooting performance in as many days, scoring 18 points, hitting three 3-pointers and grabbing 14 rebounds.

``We did a great job, we moved the ball, we played like a unit and we played great,’’ gushed Anderson, who was coming off a career-best 28-point effort in Sunday’s loss to Chicago. ``I think we’ve played great these last two games. We lost (Sunday) but we played a great game. We’ve been playing hard and that’s a key with us – our energy and effort. We’ve been doing a good job with that.’’

The Magic, who have been locked into the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference for a week, close the regular season on Wednesday at the Amway Center against the Indiana Pacers. Then, the Magic will host Games 1 and 2 against the rival Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs starting either Saturday or Sunday.

``I thought we did some good things and got some things accomplished,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``Our guys approached these games well and I was happy with the energy level and professionalism. They did what they can do in these games.’’

Orlando’s win meant that Philadelphia, one of the NBA’s most improved teams, will enter the playoffs as the East’s No. 7 seed and likely face the No. 2 Miami Heat. The New York Knicks are assured of the No. 6 seed and will most likely open against the No. 3 Boston Celtics.

Here’s a look back at what went right, what went wrong and some final observations from the Magic’s final set of back-to-back games for the season:

READ THE REST OF DENTON'S ANALYSIS





MAGIC VIDEO