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News » 76ers fall to Magic in Game 5

76ers fall to Magic in Game 5

76ers fall to Magic in Game 5
ORLANDO - Welcome to the NBA playoffs.

For the first four games of the 76ers' first-round series with the Orlando Magic, the teams traded victories on the court, said all the right things off of it, then waited a couple of days and did it again.

That is, until last night.

The Sixers left Orlando with a 91-78 loss, giving the Magic a three-games-to-two lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 will be tomorrow night at the Wachovia Center. Game 7, if necessary, will be Saturday at Amway Arena.

But the Sixers did not fly away on their chartered jet before calling attention to a couple of on-court issues that were bothering them. Both involved Orlando's all-star center Dwight Howard.

Howard finished with 24 points and 24 rebounds.

Minutes after this performance, in the media room of Amway Arena, Sixers coach Tony DiLeo danced around, but never quite jumped upon, his belief that Howard was allowed to spend most of the night inside the three-second lane.

"He lives in the three-second lane on offense and defense," DiLeo said.

Was he saying the referees were not calling three-second violations on Howard?

"I'm just saying that he's standing in the three-second lane on offense and defense," DiLeo said again. ". . . You can interpret that anyway you want."

"I don't think they should complain," Howard said. "It's Basketball, it's a tough series."

This back-and-forth about nonexistent three-second calls would have been avoided if, with 2 minutes, 45 seconds into the game, Howard had been ejected for delivering an elbow to the jaw of Sixers center Samuel Dalembert.

Howard was hit with a technical.

Unlike his coach, Dalembert did not mince words about Howard's remaining in the game, saying if he had thrown the elbow, he would have been ejected.

Dalembert refused to answer further questions, about the incident or the game.

"I hope there isn't any suspension," Howard said. "It isn't like I'm out there trying to hurt anybody."

But what actually happened in the game?

This one was much like the risky alley-oop that Orlando forward Hedo Turkoglu tossed Howard in the third quarter: contested, up for grabs, but eventually snagged by the Magic.

On that play, Howard outjumped Sixers center Theo Ratliff, getting just enough of the lob to rattle it through the rim and ignite the sold-out crowd.

The Magic grabbed the reins of this series by outrebounding the Sixers , 45-33, and eliminating the productivity of the Sixers bench: Of the Sixers' 78 points, their starters scored 72. Swingman Andre Iguodala led the team with 26 points.

Orlando forward Rashard Lewis matched Howard's 24 points and hit a handful of floating baseline jumpers that stretched his team's lead.

"It's very important to go to Philadelphia and close this series out," Lewis said. "We felt like we've given up some games we shouldn't."

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 29, 2009


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