Philadelphia 76ers 128, Orlando Magic 117
The Orlando Magic didn’t deal with lottery odds or what might happen in the Oklahoma City Thunder-LA Clippers game. Coach Steve Clifford said ahead of the game that the team had been preparing for a game as always.
Yes, some players would neither play nor play their usual minutes. But that would be a game like any other.
At least that’s what magic wanted to treat the game. The Philadelphia 76ers had nothing to play and sat all of their key players. This was a game with little at stake for either side.
Everyone just played for free. And the magic went swinging when this was their last game.
At least Cole Anthony. He scored 23 points in the first half, shook off a bad first quarter and found his way into the lane at will in a game neither side seemed particularly interested in. Orlando rose up to eight points in the second quarter. The team threw the 76s off just enough.
Philadelphia got its own star turn from rookie Tyrese Maxey. And that carried over to the third quarter.
The Orlando Magic ended their season in loss to the Philadelphia 76ers as they had the best odds for the lottery.
The Orlando shots were predictable. Anthony scored a goal, but not efficiently, and that eventually went dry when he slowed down in the third quarter. The 76ers took the lead. And Orlando was never able to line up stops to get back inside.
Philadelphia ended the Orlando season on Sunday evening with a 128-117 win at the Wells Fargo Center. Orlando had a good fight with his understaffed squad but still didn’t have enough to get to the finish line.
They will end the season with a seven game loss, disappointed that they may not have been able to get another win.
Fans will be happier that the team fought again but fell short one last time. Your reward could be a top choice thanks to Thunder’s surprise victory over the Clippers.
Maybe everything worked out exactly as it should.
Cole Anthony had a clear green light to shoot as many times as he wanted. In all honesty, he might have quickly realized that the only chance Orlando Magic had to assert itself, and perhaps win, was to take over. The last game for Anthony in his eventful rookie season ended with 37 points in 10v25 shooting and eight rebounds. Anthony’s first half was fantastic when he hit the streets and only scored at will when it was clear he had to put the magic on his shoulders.
Always the perfectionist, Anthony said he was disappointed with his six sales. With how much he had to score, he was still trying to make the right games. Even if things were still a bit forced. In a game like this nobody should be too harsh on him. Anthony showed all of the offensive skills that made him so promising throughout the season.
Mohamed Bamba will go into his off-season with a lot of work. Bamba had more playing time than ever before and showed why he was the sixth overall winner. But it hasn’t exactly cemented its place in the magical future. There were still many problems to be solved, even as he made incremental improvements. With a year of contract next season, Bamba has at least his last chance to stay with the magic.
Bamba’s last game of the season was underwhelming to say the least. He scored nine points in 3v10 shooting while collecting just six rebounds. He tried to be active defensively but was largely and largely ineffective. This wasn’t a game that was representative of Bamba’s skill or potential.
For a two-way player, Chasson Randle did all he could. He may not be a player who stays beyond that and he has some flaws that are difficult to overcome. He’s not a natural point guard. But he continues to fill important moments. He can shoot at a reasonable speed. Randle deserves another two-way shot at least somewhere.
Randle played his last game of the season, scoring 11 points in 4v7 shooting. He played perfectly for the setting and this type of game. The magic can’t be too upset about what they got from him, especially considering how much more they had to rely on him than originally thought.
Donta Hall definitely took his chance with the Orlando Magic and ran with it. He is full of energy and only needs the space to fly around the basket and up and down the field. He saw all of that in this last game. He scored 14 points and got 10 rebounds while continuing to use that time.
The main goal of the Philadelphia 76ers in that game was to avoid injury. Check. They didn’t play any of their key players in the game as their top seed was already wrapped up. Everyone with a minor injury was sitting outside. No need to risk it.
However, Tyrese Maxey gained a lot of confidence to build on in his first postseason. The rookie point guard had 30 points, six assists and seven rebounds. Orlando-born Paul Reed had 17 points and 12 rebounds from the bench. The 76ers just played with a lot of energy. That’s all they could expect from their young squad.
The Magic end the season at 9-51pm and have the best chance of winning the lottery as the third worst team in the NBA.