It was a game the Sixers could have won and one that neither team seemed to want to close out.
The Sixers led the Magic by as many as 18 Tuesday night before faltering in the third quarter (see below). The Magic continued to test the Sixers late into the fourth, when both teams missed opportunities to pull away.
The game came down to the final seconds. Evan Fournier connected on a driving floater to tie the game with 27.7 seconds to play. On the next Sixers possession, Joel Embiid lost the ball and Elfrid Payton picked off the steal.
The Magic had the final possession, which turned chaotic amid a loose ball. Embiid hit the ground (he stayed in the game) just before Serge Ibaka grabbed possession. T.J. McConnell fouled Ibaka on the way up for the attempted game-winner and was assessed a Flagrant 1. Ibaka made both free throws to give the Magic a 103-101 victory.
Inside the box score
• Embiid recorded the first double-double of his NBA career. He finished the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four blocks and three assists.
• Dario Saric broke out of his shooting slump 21 points on 9 of 15 shooting.
• The Sixers had 15 turnovers to the Magic's 10 for the game.
• Nik Vucevic led four Magic players in double figures with 24 points and 14 rebounds. The other Magic players to score in double digits were Ibaka (21), Payton (18) and Evan Fournier (17).
• Hollis Thompson led the Sixers with 22 points on 8 of 10 shooting, while Sergio Rodriguez had a double-double of 12 points and 11 assists.
The Magic came out of halftime and hit their first 11 field goal attempts. They outscored the Sixers 41-30 in the third to cut their deficit to only three points at the end of the quarter. The Sixers shot 61.1 percent from the field in the third but were topped by the Magic’s 72.7 percent. Fournier scored 11 points and Payton dished six assists during the stanza.
Jahlil Okafor sat out the game as the team previously planned. At this point in his return from injury, he is not playing in back-to-back games (nor is Embiid). Okafor will play Wednesday in Charlotte. Sixers head coach Brett Brown said Okafor could log 20 minutes with an increased restriction.
The Sixers traded Jerami Grant to the Thunder in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova and a conditional future pick on Tuesday afternoon (see story).
The Sixers will travel to Charlotte Tuesday night to take on the Hornets Wednesday evening. Embiid will not play and will remain in Philadelphia.