ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Nik Vucevic was drafted by Philadelphia in 2011 and made his NBA debut with the 76ers. A trade to Orlando has worked out for the center and the Magic.
Vucevic had 31 points and 14 rebounds, and Orlando beat Philadelphia 103-98 on Sunday night for its first three-game winning streak of the season.READ MORE: Crews Searching For Monkey After Vehicle Crashed On Pennsylvania Highway
Victor Oladipo scored 17 points for the Magic, who nearly squandered a 12-point lead in the final five minutes. Willie Green had 16 points, and Channing Frye finished with 15.
Vucevic, who was acquired in a four-team deal in August 2012 that also sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, had six offensive rebounds as the Magic outscored Philadelphia 50-26 in the paint and 21-4 on second-chance points.
“Philly drafted me and gave me a chance to make it in the NBA so I don’t have any hard feelings about the trade,” Vucevic said. “It’s part of the business and it has really worked out for me.”
JaKarr Sampson and Robert Covington had 16 points apiece for Philadelphia, which has dropped three in a row. Isaiah Canaan scored 14 points in his first game since he was acquired in a trade with Houston.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said Vucevic was a “huge” factor.
“He just amazes me at how he’s able to cradle offensive rebounds and tip the ball in at a high rate,” Brown said. “He is a hard guy to guard.”
Orlando grabbed control with a 10-0 run in the final period, shutting out Philadelphia for four minutes while opening a 91-79 lead. Oladipo started the spurt with a 3-pointer and Tobias Harris finished it off with a baseline drive and jam that got the quiet crowd involved for one of the few times in the game.
The cheering didn’t last for very long.
Covington started the Philadelphia rally with a three-point play, and then Sampson scored 11 straight Sixers points. His driving layup with 1:37 to play cut the Magic lead to 96-95.
Oladipo and Green then combined for three free throws, and Vucevic’s dunk with 47 seconds remaining made it 101-95.
Canaan responded with his fourth 3-pointer with 31 seconds left, but Oladipo made two more foul shots to close out the win for the Magic.
“We’re learning how to play in close-game situations,” said Orlando coach James Borrego, who is 4-2 since taking over for Jacques Vaughn. “I’m proud of the way we responded, the poise we had and the way we closed this out.”
Frye hit his first five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and the Magic shot 52.3 percent against a disorganized Philly defense in the first half. When Philadelphia got out on the perimeter on defense, Vucevic punished them inside, scoring 13 points, many of them second-chance shots.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Blast Of Frigid Air Makes Parts Of Region Colder Than Alaska
The Sixers weren’t much better at the other end, turning the ball over 13 times and relying almost exclusively on 3-pointers to keep the game close. Philadelphia hit five 3s in the second period and trailed 55-47 at halftime.
“That’s the skill set of some of our new people,” Brown said. “We were the NBA’s best team at attacking the rim, so all the sudden we have to flip the switch and put up as many 3s as we did. It’s a learning experience for all of us and it’s not like we’ve got a week of practices to fix things. That’s the NBA.”
Sixers: Reserve C Henry Sims is the only player to appear in all 55 games for Philadelphia this season. … The Sixers have not won a game this season (0-34) when their shooting percentage is lower than their opponent. … Brown and Borrego spent seven seasons together in San Antonio.
Magic: Frye was 3 of 15 from the field in his previous three games, but went 6 for 10 against Philadelphia. … Tobias Harris returned to the lineup after missing three games with a bruised knee. He scored four points in 25 minutes.
NEW COACH, NEW DIRECTION
Borrego said he is trying to create an identity for his team, especially on defense. Orlando is giving up 10.7 points less per game than it did under Vaughn.
“This group should feel good because they’re moving in the right direction,” Borrego said. “But we’re far from a finished product. We’ve got a long way to go and our group understands that, but they’re committed to it.”
ANOTHER NEW FACE
Brown shrugged when asked about starting Canaan in his first game since joining the team from Houston.
“We’ve had a lot of practice welcoming people coming in trying to figure it out so this isn’t catching us off guard,” Brown said. “You’re forced to keep things incredibly simple. His identifiable NBA skill is that he can shoot. Sometimes that doesn’t translate into having 15 assists and somewhere we’re going to need that kind of balance from him.”
Canaan was 5 for 12 from the field in 29 minutes. The point guard also had three assists.Bucks County DJ Service Raises Money To Buy Smoke Detectors For Local Families
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