For the first time this season, the Philadelphia 76ers hosted the Orlando Magic on Monday night. Heading into the game, the Sixers were hoping to have their entire roster healthy for the first time in a long time. After having several players in and out of the lineup throughout the last few weeks, the Sixers had just one key rotational player listed as questionable on Monday in Shake Milton.
Fortunately for the Sixers, Milton played. On the other end, the Magic were dealing with a ton of setbacks as several key players of theirs were slated to miss the Monday night matchup. However, Orlando's young big man Mo Bamba was cleared for action after being listed as questionable due to back injury management.
For the Magic, Bamba's presence was huge. Although Orlando got off to a slow start in the first quarter, the Magic found ways to outscore the Sixers in the second and third quarters, and Bamba's energy and production had a lot to do with that.
Perhaps, the former top-ten pick had a reason to really get up for Monday's matchup. Following Philly's tight win over the Magic, Bamba mentioned that he liked what he and his team were able to do on Monday -- especially since they were going against a "tough team" that employs one of the best players in the world, in the eyes of Bamba.
"It's important [to show fight in crunch time], but moral victories don't show up in the win column," Bamba said after the game. "We knew that Philly was gonna be a tough team. We were playing one of the best players in the world in Joel Embiid. We knew it was gonna be tough. But it's just something to learn off of and just move forward."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Bamba thinks so highly of Embiid. After all, the Sixers center helped the former Texas big man prepare for the big leagues when Bamba was gearing up for the 2018 NBA Draft before he eventually became the sixth-overall pick to the Magic.
While the Magic didn't totally get the best of the Sixers, Bamba had himself a night as he collected a double-double in 34 minutes of action. He shot 5-11 from the field for 11 total points. Bamba also dominated on the boards and protected the rim as he came down with a game-high of 17 rebounds and blocked six shots.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.