Magic Fall Short to Sixers on Night Jalen Suggs Fractures Thumb
An all-around gem by Franz Wagner, Mo Bamba’s block party, and physical defense by Wendell Carter Jr. on Joel Embiid played a big part in the Orlando Magic rallying back from 16 down. In the end, though, it was the seasoned Philadelphia 76ers who made enough big plays down the stretch to pull out a 101-96 win. Already shorthanded, the Magic will now be without rookie Jalen Suggs for some time after he fractured his right thumb late in the fourth quarter.
Franz Wagner is getting increasingly comfortable initiating the offense. He possesses all the necessary qualities, including a high basketball IQ, instincts, timing, and creativity, to transform into an elite point forward. That was underscored in this article, and it was demonstrated during his 27-point, six-rebound, and five-assist performance in Philly.
A nip and tuck game down the stretch usually comes down to free throws, and that’s precisely what transpired in this contest. After Mo Bamba tied the game with 57 seconds left with a putback dunk, the Sixers made eight of their final 10 foul shots. Philly also made some clutch defensive plays, including a block by Embiid on Wagner with 15 ticks remaining.
After trailing by as many as 16 early, the Magic stormed back and used a 23-8 run after halftime to grab the lead. Wagner scored nine of his points in that span. A 9-4 run by the Sixers to end the third, however, shifted the momentum back in Philly’s favor.
Suggs’ injury occurred with just under five minutes left in the game when Embiid swiped the ball away from him on a drive down the lane. Cole Anthony, the Magic’s leading scorer, missed his sixth straight game with a sprained right ankle. Also out for Orlando were Michael Carter-Williams (left ankle), Jonathan Isaac (left knee), Markelle Fultz (left knee) and E’Twaun Moore (left knee sprain). For Philadelphia, Aaron Henry (G League – Two-Way), Grant Riller (G League – Two-Way), Ben Simmons (personal reasons), and Jaden Springer (G League – On Assignment) were out.
Will we see Simmons on the court for the Sixers again? If not, will he get traded by the deadline? And if so, what will Philly get in return? The answer to those questions will determine whether the Sixers have a realistic chance at making it to the NBA Finals or not. Embiid is an all-time great. That’s unmistakable. But what will the Sixers get from the supporting cast when the pressure mounts? Tobias Harris has had his ups and downs in the postseason the last few years. Danny Green the same. Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry are having terrific seasons. Will they be able to sustain this level of play come the postseason?
This Day in History
Dwight Howard had six 30-20 performances with the Magic. One of them came on Nov. 29, 2008 when he scored 32 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in a win over the Indiana Pacers. Rashard Lewis posted 24 points and Hedo Turkoglu finished with 22. The Pacers were led by Danny Granger, who tallied 27 points.
Quote of the Night
“The game is starting to slow down for him, and it’s showing a lot. He’s a big part of what we are trying to build here in Orlando. Just wishing him a speedy recovery. I know he will be back in no time.” – Bamba, who recorded a career-high six blocks to go along with 17 rebounds, on Suggs
The Magic return home to play the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before heading out on a week-and-a-half long West Coast trip. The Nuggets have been decimated by injuries in the first quarter of the season. Jamal Murray is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season. PJ Dozier tore his left ACL last week. Back surgery will keep Michael Porter Jr. out the rest of the year. Nikola Jokic returned to Denver’s lineup Monday in Miami after missing the prior four games with a wrist injury.