Sixers rout Magic, extend winning streak to three


By Josh Liddick, Sports Talk Philly editor 

A slow start turned into complete domination, as the Philadelphia 76ers (11-7) took the Wells Fargo Center crowd by storm and won their third straight game, a 130-111 dismantling of the Orlando Magic (8-12).

The Sixers led the Magic by three going into the second quarter, but they scored 39 in the second to score 70 points in the first half for the second week in row.

The Sixers were without their star point guard Ben Simmons, who missed his first game of the season due to swelling in his left elbow.

But the team hardly skipped a beat without Simmons on the floor, leaving some wondering what the score would have been at that point had Simmons been able to play.

Other players had to step up and play as a result, as TJ McConnell had one of his best games of the season on Saturday night.

Taking Simmons' minutes as the starter, McConnell utilized his starting role as well as he possibly could have, evoking shades of 2016-17 when McConnell shined in key moments.

McConnell had 15 points and 13 assists, adding seven rebounds to his statsheet. He racked up five of those boards in the first half, which would've put him on pace for a triple-double. 

Joel Embiid didn't hesitate much during the game, after dealing with cold symptoms that made him a probable start, as he scored 18 points and 14 rebounds, with six assists.

The team probably wouldn't have played as well without both Simmons and Embiid, so the game was a good sign that the impact with Embiid on the floor is still as prevalent as it ever was before.

JJ Redick continued his showcasing of why the Sixers paid him $23 million for the season, with 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field. Redick also shot 8-of-12 from downtown, one short of his career high, and one short of tying Dana Barros' Sixers record for most three-pointers in a game.

All five of the Sixers' starters scored in double digits, as Dario Saric finished with 21 points and Robert Covington had 14.

As a team, the Sixers shot 50.5-percent from the field on 48-of-95 shooting. They also shot 47.1-percent (16-34) from beyond-the-arc.

It's crazy to think that the Sixers actually put up 130 points on the scoreboard even without Simmons' help, but even that amount produced a team record.

The Magic were able to keep the game close in stretches, but were never able to overcome the Sixers strength at home after the first quarter.

The performance of the Magic in terms of stretching the game out was a tell-tale sign of what they've been playing like during this eight-game losing streak.

Elfrid Payton, the former Sixers' draft pick, led the Magic with 22 points, but was a minus-10 on the floor. He, like McConnell, almost had a triple-double but finished with nine assists and eight rebounds.

Aaron Judge Gordon had 16 points on 4-of-11 shooting, with nine boards and two blocks, including one off of a Joel Embiid eurostep that hushed the Center just a little bit.

DJ Augustin was Orlando's most efficient bench option, with 14 points on 50-percent shooting from the field, and 3-of-5 from downtown.

The Magic shot 45.3-percent (39-of-86) as a team and 67.7-percent (21-of-31) from the charity stripe.

The Sixers as a team stayed pretty conservative in terms of their foul situations. With the exception of Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who had five fouls, only Joel Embiid (3) had more than two fouls.

The Sixers have two wins by 20 points and one by 19 during this incredible home-stand. Now, they'll look to continue their success as LeBron James and the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers come to town on Monday night.

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