Instant Observations: 76ers Defeat Magic, Keep Hopes for Sixth Seed Alive

Instant Observations: 76ers Defeat Magic, Keep Hopes for Sixth Seed Alive Apr 12, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) controls the ball against the Orlando Magic during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers (46-35) extended their winning streak to seven games with a 125-113 win over the Orlando Magic (46-35) on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Joel Embiid survived an injury scare and finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Tyrese Maxey scored 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 21 points and nine rebounds.

Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise) and KJ Martin (left great toe contusion) were the lone players out for the Sixers.

For Orlando, Franz Wagner finished with 24 points, six rebounds and three assists. Paolo Banchero totaled 22 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Jalen Suggs finished with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

With the win over the Magic, the Sixers’ hopes for avoiding the Play-In Tournament remain alive. There are two scenarios that could result in the Sixers avoiding the Play-In. The first is for the Sixers to win and have either a Magic loss or an Indiana Pacers win. The second scenario would have the Sixers finish with the fifth seed. It involves the Sixers winning their final game in addition to having both Orlando and Indiana lose.

The Sixers wrap up the regular season with a home matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon. Here are some instant observations from the win over the Magic:


– With each passing game since his return to the lineup, Embiid continues to look better and more like himself. He was dominant against the Magic, impacting the game in a multitude of ways. The big fella drew three fouls on Orlando in the first four minutes of action. He got off to a bit of a slow start as a scorer, although he still made plenty of positive plays. His passing was on point against the Magic. Embiid made three excellent passes early in the opening quarter, with the latter two resulting in assists. His skip pass to the opposite corner for an Oubre 3-pointer was insane.

Embiid’s growth as a playmaker this season has been impressive, making him even more versatile of a player. His improved passing ability will help him better handle the double teams opposing teams routinely throw at him. The passing production has taken off in recent weeks. He has dished out seven-plus assists in three out of five games since returning to the lineup.

Embiid also played the entire first quarter against the Magic, something he has not done since before injuring his left knee earlier this season. He finished the opening quarter with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Everyone in Philadelphia had their hearts stop late in the first half. Embiid, after making a driving layup, grabbed at his surgically repaired left knee and immediately went to the locker room. However, he came back out in the second half and seemed no worse for wear. On his first touch of the half, he drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key, one of his four made threes against Orlando. He also showed some burst while blocking a Suggs dunk attempt late in the third quarter. Despite not having his most efficient night as a scorer, Embiid still made his typical dominant impact on the game.

– In a season full of impressive performances, Maxey added another big outing to his cap. He was electric offensively against Orlando, giving them fits defensively trying to slow him down. His 3-point shooting was on fire, both on pull-ups and in catch-and-shoot situations. When the Magic tried going under on a Maxey pick-and-roll in the first quarter, he stepped around the screen and drilled a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc. Between his tremendous outside shooting and crafty finishing ability, Maxey possesses the complete package as a scorer.

As the game wore on, the Sixers’ offense started to wear down. Embiid did not have much left in the tank, and Orlando was managing to make their way back into the game. However, Maxey stepped up in the clutch as he has so many times throughout this season. Whenever the Sixers needed a bucket, Maxey was there to provide one. He scored in a variety of ways, whether on step-back 3-pointers, a mid-range jumper and multiple contested shots around the basket. His 11 points in the fourth quarter were all the Sixers needed to fend off any late life the Magic showed. The 23-year old plays with a poise that is well beyond his age, and it is special to watch him continue to grow his game on the court.

One of the things that makes this iteration of the Sixers different from years past is having a true second star player. Maxey has grown in front of our eyes to become the best co-star Embiid has had in his career. If the Sixers are going to make a deep postseason run, Maxey’s play is going to be crucial.

– The Sixers struck gold when they signed Oubre to a contract for the veteran’s minimum late in the offseason. His production has been up and down throughout this season, but he stepped up his play in a big way over the past few weeks. Against Orlando, he made some timely buckets and consistently crashed the boards. On nights when his jumper is not falling, he still impacts the game through his relentless motor and ability to drive the basket. Over his last 20 games heading into the game against the Magic, Oubre has averaged 19.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per contest. If the Sixers receive anywhere near that level of production in the postseason, they will be tough to beat regardless of opponent.


Paul Reed has been in the midst of a stretch of solid play. However, he had some poor moments against the Magic. Moritz Wagner ate his lunch money in the first half, making shots around the rim and winning the battle on the glass more often than not. Reed managed to salvage his night with a few buckets in the second half, but his performance overall needs to be better, especially in the postseason.

Buddy Hield shot 2-of-4 from 3-point range, a positive considering his recent cold shooting spell. However, he once again made a brutal turnover in the backcourt. He needs to eliminate the boneheaded plays before the postseason arrives or his role is going to start to diminish.

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