Sixers fall to Magic, 112-97, as Joel Embiid sits out game to rest
Orlando improved to 4-7, after losing five of six games. The Sixers suffered their fourth loss in six games.
ORLANDO – As expected, the 76ers faced the Orlando Magic without Joel Embiid.
His presence was missed on this night.
Sparked by a fourth-quarter run, the Magic rolled to a 112-97 victory Wednesday night at the Amway Center.
Orlando improved to 4-7, after losing five of six games. The Sixers, meanwhile, suffered their fourth loss in six games.
The Sixers (7-4) missed a lot of easy baskets in the fourth quarter, committed costly turnovers, and had a tough time defending. All those deficiencies were on display during the Magic’s game- clinching 16-4 run that gave them a commanding 102-89 lead with 3 minutes, 12 seconds remaining.
The Magic made 7 of 10 shots during the stretch, while the Sixers missed five of their first six shots and made 3 of 8. They also committed two bad turnovers during the run.
Seven of the Sixers’ 15 turnovers came in the fourth quarter. They also made just 6-of-19 shots -- including going 1-for-7 on three-pointers -- in the quarter.
For the game, they made 8-of-30 three-pointers for 26.7% and shot just 9-of-13, or 69.2% from the foul line. They Sixers made just 16 of 68 three-pointers combined (23.5%).
Josh Richardson paced the Sixers with 19 points. Ben Simmons added 18 to go with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 turnovers. But Tobias Harris and Al Horford had off shooting nights.
Harris had 8 points on 4-for-13 shooting while missing all three of his three-point shots. He also had a team highs of 10 rebounds and 6 assists to go with 3 turnovers. That followed his 4-for-17 shooting, including 0-for-11 on threes, for 8 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.
“I’m not only missing shots, I’m not in a rhythm,” said Harris, who has missed 23 consecutive three-pointers since making one in the first quarter of Nov. 4′s setback at the Phoenix Suns. “It’s easier said than done, but I’m going to find my rhythm, and once I do, those shots are going to be there, and they are going to [go down].”
Horford scored 14 points on 5-for-18 shooting after getting a rest day against the Cavs.
Former Sixer Nik Vucevic finished with a game-high 25 points for the Magic.
Markelle Fultz finished with 8 points in his first regular-season game against his former team since being traded to Orlando on Feb. 7.
Embiid got the night off to rest his left knee. The Sixers also were without reserve post player Jonah Bolden, who was assigned to their G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. He is expected to play in this weekend’s Blue Coats games. The G League will provide additional practice and game reps for Bolden, who has played a total of five minutes for the Sixers.
For Embiid, this was the fourth game of the team’s 11 that he has missed this season. He was sidelined Oct. 26 against the Detroit Pistons with a sprained right ankle. Then, he served a two-game suspension (Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 2 and Phoenix Suns on Nov. 4) for fighting Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Wednesday’s absence was part of his overall care plan, to keep him healthy for the entire season and the postseason.
The 25-year-old was hampered by tendinitis in his left knee late last season. He missed 14 of the final 24 regular-season games, plus Game 3 of the opening-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.
Late in the third quarter, things got a little chippy between Richardson and former Sixer Michael Carter-Williams.
Richardson gave the Sixers a 74-72 lead while making a three-pointer and getting fouled by Carter-Williams. The shooting guard was knocked to the ground on the play and held his right ankle after getting up. Carter-Williams received a Flagrant 1 foul, and Richardson made the foul shot to complete the four-point play.
Shortly after, Richardson was fouled again by Carter-Williams, but the Sixers picked up a technical foul for knocking the Magic reserve to the ground. Carter-Williams got up clapping him hands while looking at Richardson.
The Magic’s Mo Bamba and Amile Jefferson also have ties to the Sixers or the Philadelphia area.
The Sixers drafted Vucevic with the 16th overall pick on the 2011 draft. They traded him to the Magic following that season. Bamba attended Westtown School in West Chester, while Jefferson went to Friends Central School in Wynnewood.
And the Sixers selected Carter-Williams with 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft. He was named the 2014 rookie of the year, but was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 19, 2015. The Magic are his sixth NBA team. He will be remembered for being apart of the Sixers’ rebuilding process.