Magic Lose in Philly in First of Two Games Against 76ers to Finish Season
Ignas Brazdeikis, playing against the team that waived him a little over a month ago, had his best game of his career with 21 points and R.J. Hampton finished one assist shy of a triple-double with 12 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and nine dimes, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Philadelphia 76ers, who clinched the East’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs with a 122-97 victory on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.
On April 8, four days after appearing in his one and only game in Philadelphia following getting traded there at the deadline, the Sixers waived Brazdeikis. That enabled the Magic to sign him nearly a month later. The lefty small forward, back in Philly for the first time since joining the Magic, thrived against his former team, making nine of his 12 shot attempts overall and three of his five tries from beyond the arc.
Back in action after missing the last two games with a non-Covid related illness, Mo Bamba came off the bench and registered 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting from the field. Since getting increased playing time after the trade deadline, the 7-foot, 231-pounder has scored in double figures 15 times.
The Sixers, who led by just five after the first quarter, took full control behind stellar play from their bench. Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz and Tyrese Maxey combined for 18 points in the second period when Philadelphia outscored Orlando by 20.
This offseason will be a busy one for both Cole Anthony and R.J. Hampton, who combined for 23 points on Friday. Considering neither got a normal offseason to train in 2020 because of the pandemic and the fact that the draft took place just a couple weeks before training camp began, these next few months will be a great opportunity for both to sharpen their skills and learn from their rookie mistakes.
Michael Carter-Williams (sprained left ankle), James Ennis III (sore right calf), Markelle Fultz (torn ACL, left knee), Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation), Chuma Okeke (sprained left ankle), Otto Porter Jr. (left foot pain), and Terrence Ross (back spasms) were out for the Magic.
Quote of the Night
“Getting comfortable, knowing my teammates. I think that’s one of the biggest things when you find guys, is knowing your teammates’ strengths. Mo (Bamba) is a great roller, great flare guy. The same with Moe Wagner. Donta (Hall) is a great roller. We have a lot of spot-up shooters. So, when I’m coming down the court, I’m looking to get my teammates involved first.” – Hampton
The Magic will stay in Philadelphia for a couple more nights and complete their 2020-21 season on Sunday with a rematch against the 76ers at 7 p.m. It’s likely the Sixers will rest most, if not all, of their core players now that they have locked up the No. 1 seed in the East. The last time Philly was the top playoff seed in the conference was in 2001 when Allen Iverson led the Sixers to the NBA Finals.