It’s time for the Admiral Ackbar impressions, because this one was a trap.
The Sixers’ seven-game winning streak was snapped when they blew a 21-point lead to the Orlando Magic at home Monday night. No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero dropped 29 points and 10 rebounds, and both Wagners were a problem as Franz put up 19 points and six boards, while Moe had 22 points. Markelle Fultz had 12 points and 10 assists in his first game back at the Wells Fargo Center, as the Magic won 119-109.
Here are some thoughts at the buzzer.
- It was surprising to see Markelle Fultz booed as loudly as he was at the start of the game. It certainly didn’t work out for him in Philadelphia, but his struggles here feel like they happened eight lifetimes ago.
- There were a lot of concerns of this being a trap game, and those worries were temporarily put to rest. Fultz was the only Magic player who was able to score for the first seven minutes of the game as the Sixers had a double-digit lead almost instantly. Orlando shot just 25.9 percent from the field as Philly’s defense was highlighted by three first-quarter blocks by Embiid.
- A solid offensive start for the Sixers as they put up 30 points without having to exert themselves. Tobias Harris led all scorers with nine points in the opening quarter as the Sixers got out to a 13-point lead.
- Any six-minute stretch where Matisse Thybulle scores seven points is going to feel notable, but the first half felt like some of his best minutes of the season. He was his usual disruptive self on the defensive end, with two steals during this stretch.
- Things started to look less lopsided as the Magic saw some shots start to fall. Orlando shot 50 percent in the second as a lead that was as high as 21 was 10 at the half, with Paolo Banchero even cutting it to single digits for a moment before the half.
- Playing Paul Reed for only the last 55 seconds of the half is not what’s best for the team, nor is it what’s best for Paul Reed!
- The Magic hung around and very much kept it an interesting game as the most recent No. 1 overall pick found a rhythm. Banchero had just four points with four minutes left in the first half, but he suddenly had 27 points going into the fourth. The Magic took their first lead of the game on a Gary Harris three with a minute and a half left in the third.
- The Sixers’ offense in the third was inconsistent at best, and sloppy at worst. Four turnovers at the beginning of the quarter made it too easy for the Magic to get into a run. Orlando had 28 fast break points on the night.
- With Philly’s rotations being pretty set in stone, it’s always tough for the Sixers when the other team has momentum when Embiid checks out of the game. It was a bad Montrezl Harrell night, as he couldn’t do anything with the Magic’s height, nor did he really contribute anything on the offensive end. The Sixers fully blew the lead, trailing by four entering the final quarter.
- It wasn’t the prettiest minutes from the bench unit, but they managed to tie up the game for when Embiid returned to the game. Given the foot issue he’s been dealing with, it probably would have been nice to steal some extra rest for the big fella, but alas! The Sixers made it difficult for themselves all night. Embiid was pretty neutralized defensively down the stretch as he was playing with five fouls.
- Philly’s offense only got worse as the Magic began to apply more pressure. They were picking up the Sixers’ ball handlers full court for much of the game, but in the second half they really started getting aggressive with double teams, and those double teams really affected the Sixers offense. Just two different levels of intensity from the Sixers and Magic tonight.
- Stay right where you are, as the Sixers’ next matchup is against these Orlando Magic at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m.