Sixers lose Thaddeus Young in win over hapless Magic

Coach Doug Collins checks on 76ers forward Thaddeus Young, who went down with a strained left hamstring as Philadelphia defeated the Orlando Magic, 78-61 Monday, February 4, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Coach Doug Collins checks on 76ers forward Thaddeus Young, who went down with a strained left hamstring as Philadelphia defeated the Orlando Magic, 78-61 Monday, February 4, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Posted: February 06, 2013

IT'S STARTING to seem like if the 76ers didn't have bad fortune, they would barely have any at all. In a season that has been littered with injuries, thus forcing several alterations to the starting rotation, they had appeared to have found a bit of a bright spot.

Coach Doug Collins sent out Jrue Holiday, Nick Young, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes to begin the last five games, and the Sixers won four of them, including Monday's 78-61 win over the decimated Orlando Magic. But Collins won't be able to send out that starting five for a good period of time, it appears, as Thaddeus Young strained his left hamstring diving for a loose ball in the second quarter. He appeared to be in a tremendous amount of pain as he was helped to the locker room, and he could need a couple of weeks to heal enough to extend himself fully on the court.

It was the ugliest part of a game that had plenty of non-beauty. The Magic committed only five fouls the entire game (only five fewer than the Sixers), shot 1-for-12 from beyond the arc, scored 26 total points in the second half, and was held to a floor-record low 61 points for the game.

Orlando's ineptitude was aided by the fact that it was limited to nine players because of injuries, including ones to starters Arron Afflalo (strained calf), Jameer Nelson (bruised forearm), J.J. Redick (sore shoulder) and Glen Davis (fractured foot). Those are also the Magic's four leading scorers.

As has been the norm with his new starters, Collins' team jumped out to a quick start, scoring 28 points in the first quarter and grabbing a 12-point lead. From there, it was basically a CYO game (with apologies to the CYO leagues).

"We did what we were supposed to do, we beat a team with a ton of injuries, so that's the positive side," said Collins, whose team won its third game in a row to improve to 21-26. "The negative side is Thad pulled a hamstring, so he's going to be out for a while. The only positive about that is that the All-Star break is coming up, so that will hopefully help a little bit."

The Sixers have four games before the All-Star break, three of them at home. The first game back is Feb. 20; it could be until then before Young gets back on the court.

In his absence, Collins will have to rely more on Lavoy Allen, who went to the bench when the most recent moves were made, and has played quite well as a sub. He could be moved into the starting spot, or Collins could start Dorell Wright. No matter, with one of the few stabilizing pieces now shelved, Collins will have to get more contributions somewhere.

Monday night, Allen provided 10 points and six rebounds in a little more than 30 minutes, while Hawes totaled 21 points and a season-high 14 rebounds. Nick Young posted 15 points, and Jrue Holiday collected 13 points and 14 assists. Little-used rookie Arnett Moultrie played close to 12 minutes, something that could become the norm in Thaddeus Young's absence.

"That was tough," Nick Young said of his teammate's injury. "It's bad news. Thad is one of our anchors on the team. To lose him for a couple of games while we're trying to make a push is tough. Somebody just has to step up."

The Sixers are quickly running out of bodies to do that. Collins said before the game that starting shooting guard Jason Richardson will "be out for a while," while he struggles with an ailing left knee, and now the Sixers will miss Young's 15.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals.

"They [wins] all count the same," Hawes said. "It [Young's injury] is huge. Thad does so much for this team on both ends of the floor and in the locker room. It's tough to see someone go down, especially on that kind of a play. It's going to be hard. You can't replace someone like that, what he brings every night. We're going to have to figure out as a team how we're going to be able to compensate for what we lose without his presence out there."

The Sixers were able to figure it out Monday, though playing against a group that resembled a borderline NBA Development League playoff team surely helped.

"Spencer was terrific tonight; Jrue with his 14 assists, and I thought Nick played very good defense," Collins said. "Our defense was good; I thought Lavoy played very well. I thought Arnett came in and did a very good job for us.

"We got the win, but a big loss with Thad. Thad is the one guy on our team that will dive for those loose balls. He laid himself out, and, unfortunately, he got hurt on the play."

Six shots

Nik Vucevic had nine points and 14 rebounds for the Magic in his first return to Philadelphia since the Andrew Bynum trade last summer . . . E'Twaun Moore led Orlando with 18 points . . . It was the fifth straight road game for the Magic, which dropped its 10th in a row to fall to 14-34 . . . The Sixers will host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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