When the Philadelphia 76ers hosted the Orlando Magic at home on Monday night, they got off to a hot start. In the first quarter of action, the Sixers outscored Orlando 31-19. Defensively, they played well as they held the Magic to just 29-percent shooting from the field and less than 20-percent from three in the first 12 minutes.
Then offensively, the Sixers shared the ball well as points were coming from all over. But then the Sixers took their foot off the gas early. After getting outscored by one point, the Sixers went into halftime with an 11-point lead after leading by as much as 16 in the first quarter.
In their previous matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Sixers started slow and then came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. On Monday night, it was a different story. When the third quarter concluded, the Sixers were outscored 35-27.
"I thought the first six minutes we played pretty much right away with a lot of energy," said 76ers head coach Doc Rivers. "And then right after that, I just think we didn't play very well." Going into the final period of the night, the Sixers needed somebody to offer a burst of energy, and their backup center Andre Drummond became that guy.
"They pulled me to the side and said, you know, we need some energy right now," Drummond said after the game. "You know it was a little stale. Guys were not giving out much energy, so (Sam Cassell) gave me the assignment to go out there and just give the best energy I can and just get the momentum going. So, I did my job."
In total, Drummond finished the matchup with seven points, 12 rebounds, and two blocked shots. Drummond contributed to four points and collected five rebounds in the four minutes he played during the fourth quarter. Four of those boards were on offense, which helped keep possessions alive.
"I thought Drumm basically changed the game with his offensive rebounds and his effort," Rivers concluded. "But other than that, I'll take any win. I rather win these than lose these. So, you'll take them and keep pushing on."
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.