76ers keep fading, lose to turmoil-racked Magic, 88-82

Posted: April 07, 2012

The 76ers couldn't take advantage of an opponent that was clearly hurting both physically and emotionally. Despite seeing two starters out with injury and still wearing the emotional scars from one of the most bizarre press conferences in NBA history, the Magic defeated the Sixers, 88-82, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.

The loss was the Sixers third in a row and fourth in five games.

The Sixers now visit Boston on Sunday, two games behind the Celtics in the Atlantic Division. Both teams have 11 remaining games.

The Sixers trailed 82-76 after J.J. Redick hit a three-pointer with 3:23 left. Jrue Holiday cut it to 82-78 with a jumper, Lou Williams added two free throws with 2:21 left.

Dwight Howard then hit both free throws, making it 84-80 Orlando with 2:05 remaining. Thaddeus Young missed a corner jumper and Howard was sent to the line again. He made one of two.

Williams missed a jumper, and Howard was fouled following an offensive rebound.

Entering the game as a 48.6 percent free throw shooter, Howard made one of two with 1:09 left, extending the lead to 86-80.

Andre Iguodala missed both free throws, drawing loud boos.

Redick missed a jumper but Howard was fouled after grabbing the offensive rebound. Howard made one of two with 44.5 seconds left.

The Sixers turned the ball over on the next possession and that ended any chance.

Redick scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Howard ended with 20 points, 22 rebounds and shot 12 of 18 from the foul line.

Young had 20 points for the Sixers while Jodie Meeks added 16.

After the Magic scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 69-61, Young then scored the Sixers' next eight points during an 8-1 run.

He was running the floor, hitting from the perimeter and doing everything possible to keep the Sixers in the game.

The Sixers couldn't sustain the effort.

The Magic were without starters Ryan Anderson (sprained ankle) and Hedo Turkoglu (facial fracture) and reserve swingman Quentin Richardson (back spasms).

Orlando is also dealing with the after affects of Thursday's press gathering, where coach Stan Van Gundy told the media that Howard wanted him fired.

"It was weird," said Magic point guard Jameer Nelson following Saturday's shootaround.

Van Gundy and Howard have both said they have put the incident behind them, but the Magic now must deal with a depleted lineup.

As for Howard, who has been battling back spasms, he was much better than his last outing when he had eight points and eight rebounds in nearly 40 minutes during Thursday's 96-80 loss to the visiting New York Knicks.

The Sixers trailed 12-2 before inserting Lou Williams, who provided a needed first-half spark.

Williams and Meeks both came off the bench to each score 11 points, both hitting 4 of 5 from the field.

The Sixers led 45-37 at halftime and Howard had seven points (2 of 8 shooting) and eight rebounds.

Former Celtic Glen Davis had 15 points and three rebounds in the third quarter, enabling the Magic to take a 62-61 lead entering the fourth period.

Contact Marc Narducci at 856,779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com or @sjnard on Twitter.


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