The Philadelphia 76ers bounced back from their first loss of the new year last Wednesday with two-straight impressive wins over the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.
When they returned to the court on Monday for a matinee matchup against the Washington Wizards on the road, the Sixers looked defeated from the jump. The Wizards capitalized on Philadelphia’s exhaustion and sent the Sixers home with a blowout loss.
After getting the day off on Tuesday, the Sixers returned their home court in South Philly on Wednesday for a matchup against the Orlando Magic. In their previous two outings against each other, the Sixers defeated the Magic once at home and once on the road.
When they met at the Wells Fargo Center for a second time this year, the Sixers leaned heavily on their star center Joel Embiid in the first half. While Embiid was on a tear, the Magic were gearing up to stun the Sixers as they led by ten points after the first half concluded.
While the Sixers had their hands full in the first half, their third-quarter performance was nearly unstoppable as they shot 73-percent from the field and put up nearly 50 points while holding the Magic to just 23. After gaining a 14-point lead before going into the final quarter of the night, the Sixers never looked back.
In the end, Philadelphia put away the Magic 123-110. With that victory, they pick up their 26th win of the season.
76ers vs. Magic Player Observations
Charlie Brown Jr.
The Philadelphia native picked up his second-career start on Wednesday night. As the Sixers are down several small forwards in Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle, the two-way signee earned an opportunity to show what he’s got in the starting lineup. In 16 minutes, Brown went 1-3 from the field and scored in three points. By the start of the second half, Sixers coach Doc Rivers elected to roll with Korkmaz over Brown with the starting lineup.
The veteran forward had a quiet, but efficient night. In a little under 35 minutes, Harris drained roughly 62-percent of his shots from the field for 21 points. Coming off of a rough performance on Monday afternoon, Harris was one of a few standouts for the Sixers against Orlando.
The All-Star center played a phenomenal game on Wednesday. Right out of the gate, Embiid scored 20 points in the first ten minutes. By halftime, Embiid had 24 points in 14 minutes. By the end of the night, the MVP candidate collected 50 points for the second time in his career. He did it on 17-23 shooting. In addition to his scoring, Embiid collected 12 rebounds, two assists, three blocks, and a steal. The craziest part? He did all of that in less than 30 minutes on the court.
Once again, Curry struggled to find a ton of shots. On Monday, he went just 4-9 from the field, attempting two shots from beyond the arc. On Wednesday, Curry had a similar performance as he put up just seven shots, with four of them coming from deep. Curry’s been a hot hand for the Sixers a lot this season, but Wednesday was not his night as he finished with just five points in 32 minutes. On the bright side, he was shockingly productive in the rebounding department as he collected eight boards.
The young guard was quietly productive. While he didn’t get up a ton of shots, Maxey drained 60-percent of his attempts from the field. From beyond the arc, Maxey was effective as he went 2-3. He wrapped up the game with 14 points in 35 minutes.
After a rough outing with the Sixers’ starting lineup, Korkmaz resumed a role off the bench on Wednesday. He checked in for 22 minutes. Typically, Korkmaz gets up roughly nine shots per game but he attempted just five against Orlando. Less was more as Korkmaz went 3-5 from the field and 1-2 from the free throw line, collecting eight points.
The veteran forward has been pretty productive over the last couple of games. While he didn’t catch fire on Wednesday, he made some very timely shots. In 25 minutes, Niang finished with ten points on 3-8 shooting from the field.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.