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Working Overtime: Sixers 109, Magic 112

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The Sixers may have technically lost the battle, but they gained in the tanking war.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into this game, people probably assumed that many parts of this game would not be the prettiest basketball they had ever seen. That was the case for long stretches, but it also paved the way for Dario Saric to continue his Rookie Of The Year candidacy and for Richaun Holmes to tie and eclipse career highs. And by losing 112-109 in overtime, this game inched the Sixers closer to the Magic in this season’s Tankathon.

This game was not played at a flying pace, and the numerous foul calls whistled tonight did not exactly do much to quicken things up. Following a tight first quarter, the Sixers pulled ahead in the second for a lead they would maintain throughout the third but lose in the fourth. Overtime arose, and the Magic succeeded in putting the game away with some timely free throw shooting and untimely Sixers misses. Or perhaps they were timely Sixers misses, if you’re looking at the game from a draft pick only perspective.

The Sixers have had tons of highlights and fun games this season, but even though the Sixers led for the bulk of regulation play, this one was at times a slog to get through. The crowd seemed sparse and unenthusiastic at least through the television and the excitement of the game seemed to match the mood of the crowd, but there were some notable things to take away from the game. To the bulletpoints!

  • Richaun Holmes had a career game. In 42 minutes, Holmes managed to tie a career high of 24 points on 11-19 shooting. Perhaps even more impressively, Holmes managed a career high of 14 rebounds in addition to 4 assists and 4 blocks to go along with his already gaudy numbers. Is it a hot take anymore to suggest Holmes is a better player than a certain 2015 first round pick? That’s a rhetorical question, folks. Please don’t actually answer that in the comments section down below.
  • Dario Saric continues to put himself in contention for Rookie Of The Year, if he’s not already the front-runner to win it. The Homie shot 43%, including 2-5 from beyond the arc for a total of 18 points along with 5 rebounds. Saric was no Richaun in the rebounding category, but the Croatian rookie made his presence felt tonight, igniting plenty of Twitter debates about Saric vs. Aaron Gordon.
  • There was a time when Liberty Ballers was basically a blog about Jodie Meeks, and his dad Orestes. We may not have seen or heard from Orestes tonight, but the Jodiac Killer played his first game tonight since January 18, seeing 20 minutes of playing tim. Meeks shot 1-9 from the field, including 0-3 from three point-range. Once a Sixer, always a Sixer. Missing you, Jodie.
  • Speaking of poor performances tonight, let’s take a moment to shout out apparent tank-enthusiast Justin Anderson. Fresh off a bout with his own digestive system, Anderson played off the bench and Anderson struggled mightily. 26 minutes, only 2 field goal attempts, one total point gained from shooting 1-2 at the free throw line, and only one assist. The only bright spot on the statline for Anderson were his 7 defensive rebounds. People hoping to see the return for Nerlens Noel shine were sorely disappointed, but lottery ball fans rejoiced at such a heroic performance.
  • What is going on with Elfrid Payton’s hair? Forget the statlines or basketball stats or anything remotely basketball related, the Magic traded Saric and a first round pick for Elfrid Payton’s current hairstyle. Yikes.

With this performance, the Sixers are only a half a game ahead of the Magic in the NBA standings, meaning the Sixers are a half game away from having the fourth best odds of landing the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft with their own pick. Up next for the Sixers is a continuation of their road trip with a Wednesday road game against Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.