Paolo Banchero erupted for 29 points, Moe Wagner scored 22 points, Franz Wagner had 19 and Markelle Fultz posted 12 points, 10 assists, four steals and zero turnovers in his first game as an opponent in Philadelphia, as the Orlando Magic overcame a 21-point first-half deficit to snap the 76ers’ seven-game winning streak with Monday’s 119-109 victory at Wells Fargo Center.
The Magic’s defense was superb in the fourth quarter. The Sixers only made two floor shots in the final seven minutes. Orlando, meanwhile, made a few huge shots down the stretch. Cole Anthony put Orlando up eight with a 3-pointer with 5:43 remaining and Banchero sealed the comeback victory with a monster dunk with 36 seconds left off a Franz Wagner steal.
The Magic went from down 15 at about the eight-minute mark of the third quarter to up three with a minute and change left in the period. Banchero scored 11 of his points during that stretch, while Gary Harris made a pair of 3-pointers, including the one that gave Orlando their first lead of the night.
The Magic totaled 22 second-chance points, 14 more than the Sixers, and 28 fast break points, 14 more than Philly. Orlando also took seven more free throws. The Magic outscored the Sixers by 20 in the second half.
Monday’s win was the largest comeback victory this season and sixth largest in franchise history.
Quote of the Day
“I just think it was a matter of timing just getting healthy really. Again, everything happens for a reason and I feel like I can bring value to any team that I’m on. It just happened to be that I got traded from Philly and got a new opportunity. So of course, I’m thankful for the opportunity. It definitely opened up a new pathway and new people and new every day. I think it was just a matter of me getting healthy when I was there, but I’m definitely grateful for the new opportunity and I’m thankful.” – Fultz on if he felt a trade out of Philadelphia in 2019 was necessary for his long-term growth
Chuma Okeke (left knee injury recovery) was out for the Magic. Everyone was available for the Sixers.
This Day in History
Last season on Jan. 30, the Magic won a thriller against the Dallas Mavericks at Amway Center. Okeke led seven Orlando players in double figures with 19 points, while Franz Wagner had 18 points, including go-ahead bucket with a little under a minute remaining, and Carter recorded a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Luka Doncic notched a triple-double for the Mavs with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, while Jalen Brunson, now a New York Knick, scored 15 points.
Since Nov. 6, the Sixers have the league’s best record. For the season, they are fifth in offense and sixth in defense. Something hard to believe is that no matter what, at least one of Philadelphia, Boston, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and Cleveland will be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs – and all five, it seems fair to say, are legitimate championship contenders. Maybe, the Sixers deserve to be considered the favorites at this point with how dominant they’ve been over the last couple months.
The Magic and Sixers will square off again in Philadelphia on Wednesday at 7 p.m. This is the fifth of six times this season that the Magic will play the same opponent in the same city in consecutive games. They played the Pacers in Indianapolis on Nov. 19 and 21, hosted the Sixers on Nov. 25 and 27 and Raptors on Dec. 9 and 11, and then were in Boston for games against the Celtics on Dec. 16 and 18. The Cavs will be in Orlando for back-to-back games on April 4 and 6.