The 76ers won 78-61, giving them their 3rd win in a row and 4th in 5 games.
(Against horrible competition, mind you).
But the story of the night wasn't a 17 point win over the Orlando Magic missing (amazingly) their top 4 scorers. The fact that Jrue Holiday dropped 14 assists to 1 turnover is virtually irrelevant. Spencer Hawes' 21 point / 14 rebound performance hardly matters.
As we wrote about earlier, Thaddeus Young went down in the first half to what appears to be a torn hamstring. He will have an MRI later today to determine the extent of the injury. Reports on the time frame are a few weeks to 2 months.
If the 76ers go the next month without Andrew Bynum and Thaddeus Young, when you consider that they end the season with 12 of their final 16 on the road, the playoffs look very much in doubt.
The good news is that the Celtics look like they're exploring breaking up their team, and Detroit is 4 games behind the 76ers. But there is plenty basketball left to be played, and this is a very, very bad basketball team without Bynum and Young.
In case you were wondering, the 76ers have been absolutely-friggin-god-awful with Thaddeus Young on the bench so far this season.
I suppose there was a game to cover as well. It was awful. The 76ers shot 3-20 from 3 point range. They made 3 free throws. The 76ers scored 78 points on 79 field goal attempts.
Which would have been an issue if they weren't play a Jameer Nelson/J.J. Redick/Glen Davis/Arron Afflalo'less Orlando Magic. They "held" the Magic to 33.8% from the field, 1-12 from three point range, and 61 points on 80 field goal attempts.
Unlike some around here, and unlike my stance in years past, I really want the 76ers to make the playoffs. As long as Andrew Bynum has a chance of being able to play (and reasonably effectively), I want the 76ers to make the playoffs. I want to see what Jrue/Bynum can do against the best in the league. I want to see what this squad looks like with all their pieces together for as many games as possible.
How can that happen?
Let's say miracles happen and both Thaddeus Young and Andrew Bynum play the first game after the all-star break. I place odds of that happening at ~10%, but I guess we'll have a better idea on that later today, at least with regards to Thad. If that happens, and the 76ers only have 4 games before the all-star break, and they are able to find a way to go 1-3 (they do play Charlotte, after all), then I suppose there's still a chance.
Let's take a slightly less optimistic view and say Thad/Bynum both return March 2nd. That gives the 76ers 9 games without their starting front court. Can the team survive a 2-7 stretch, considering the road heavy end of season schedule?
Oh. Jrue Holiday (13 points on 6-15 shooting, 14 assists, 1 turnover), Spencer Hawes (21 points on 9-17 from the field, 14 rebounds) and Nick Young (15 points on 7-15 from the field) led the 76ers. E'Twaun Moore (18 points) and Nikola Vucevic (14 rebounds) led the Magic, with Maurice Harkless getting 43 minutes of playing time.
Player of the game: Jrue Holiday.
Next up: Wednesday, at home against the Pacers.