Orlando ends Philly’s playoff hopes
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Dwight Howard poured in 35 points, grabbed
11 rebounds and dished out five assists as Orlando cruised past Philadelphia,
105-87, at the Wachovia Center.
“Dwight was fantastic right from the beginning of the game,” said Orlando head
coach Brian Hill. “He had high energy. He was not only getting deep post-ups
and scoring, but he was really active on the glass with offensive and
defensive boards. He did a great job passing the ball out of the post when
they (Sixers) came with some defensive help on him. It was a great effort on
Darko Milicic scored 14 points with seven boards and Hedo Turkoglu added 13
points and seven rebounds for the Magic, who have won three of their last four
games. The Magic hold the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and
can earn the playoff berth by winning out. Orlando extended its lead to two
games over the ninth-place Pacers.
Grant Hill had 11 points and Jameer Nelson finished with 10 for the Magic, who
finished 53 percent shooting from the field.
Andre Miller netted 18 points and pulled down eight boards for the Sixers, who
had a three-game winning streak halted and have been officially eliminated
from playoff contention. Andre Iguodala, Kyle Korver and Louis Williams each
chipped in 14 points in defeat.
“I’m very much proud of our players,” said Philadelphia head coach Maurice
Cheeks. “I said it yesterday and I will reiterate it today that there was a
stretch where we lost 12 games in a row and having the types of character
players that we have is the reason why we got to this point. We’re not going
to the playoffs, but I see a bright future with the players that we have.”
Philadelphia shot 39 percent from the floor.
Orlando led by as many as 12 in the first quarter on a pair of Keyon Dooling
free throws, while Joe Smith’s fadeaway cut Philadelphia’s deficit to 35-25
heading into the second.
The Magic continued to lead by double digits and Howard’s alley oop dunk
capped the frame to make it a 61-48 game at the break.
It was much of the same in the third as Orlando opened the quarter with a 9-0
spurt — led by Nelson’s five points — for a 70-48 advantage. Howard’s layup
then sent the Magic into the fourth with an 82-66 cushion.
The Sixers failed to mount any threat in the final frame.
Steven Hunter had 11 points for Philadelphia…Orlando returns home to host
the Boston Celtics on Sunday, while the Sixers visit the Detroit Pistons…The
Magic have won four of the last five contests in the series.