Road Trip Ends With Loss to Magic
Although the 76ers (47-27) and Orlando Magic (36-38) traded leads throughout the first three quarters of Monday’s meeting at Amway Center, the Sixers failed to overcome the Magic’s late push en route to a 119-98 loss.
Despite a total of 23 lead changes and 10 ties, a 38-9 Orlando run between the third and fourth frames put the contest away.
The Sixers also gave up 15 turnovers, which lead to 23 points for the Magic.
“I think that they were desperate,” Brett Brown said of Orlando, which is fighting for its first playoff berth since 2012. “They played like it.”
Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 20 points and 10 rebounds, converting eight of his 15 field goals.
Tobias Harris added 15 points, four rebounds, and three assists, while Jimmy Butler recorded 13 points, six assists and seven dimes.
Returning from a shining campaign with the Delaware Blue Coats, Shake Milton led the Sixers’ bench with a new NBA career-high 13 points.
Zhaire Smith, the 16th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, made his Sixers debut late in Monday’s contest, and hit a 3-pointer on his first field goal attempt.
“It’s spectacular that he now is in a uniform, on an NBA court,” Brown said. “We drafted him with the belief that he really has the chance to grow into an elite player.”
The Sixers were without Ben Simmons (gastroenteritis) and James Ennis III (quad) Monday.
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Nice moment for a rook who worked hard to get there.
— * - Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 26, 2019
The Sixers return home Thursday to South Philadelphia to host the Brooklyn Nets (38-36). The Nets will visit the Sixers for their seventh and final game of their longest road trip this season. First-time All-Star D’Angelo Russell leads his team in points (20.7 ppg), assists (6.9 apg), and steals (1.2 spg). Brooklyn had won two games in a row against the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers prior to facing the Trail Blazers Monday in Portland.