NBA: Magic handle Simmons-less 76ers for fifth straight win

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Mar 26 2019 10:03 AM

Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) attempts a shot Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Amway Center. Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Nikola Vucevic had 28 points and 11 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic took a major step in their push toward the playoffs with a 119-98 win at home over the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night.

The Magic (36-38) went undefeated during their five-game homestand and are now just a half-game behind the Miami Heat for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 

The two teams play a pivotal game Tuesday night in Miami, the winner of which will take the lead in the playoff race and the Southeastern Division with eight games remaining for the Heat and seven for Orlando.

Evan Fournier chipped in 24 points and seven assists, and Michael Carter-Williams, who signed his second 10-day contract with Orlando earlier in the day, had 15 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Joel Embiid had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Tobias Harris added 15 points for the 76ers. Philadelphia point guard Ben Simmons did not play due to a stomach virus.

The 76ers remain in the third seed with a two-game lead over the Indiana Pacers.

The game was deadlocked for the first 32 minutes. There were 22 lead changes up to that point, but Orlando took command of the game with a 11-0 run to close out the remaining four minutes of the third quarter.

That gave the Magic a 89-77 lead heading into the fourth, and they continued their momentum from there. Philadelphia went nearly 12 minutes without a field goal during the third and fourth quarters, and Orlando led by as much as 27 in the fourth.

The 76ers held a 60-57 halftime lead after a back-and-forth first half.

Philadelphia outshot the Magic 61.5 percent to 42.2 percent, yet managed just a three-point lead. Orlando led 44-37 until the 76ers went on a 10-0 run midway through the second quarter.

Philadelphia has two days off before hosting the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.

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