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News » Magic makes Sixers disappear in opener

Magic makes Sixers disappear in opener

Magic makes Sixers disappear in opener ORLANDO - Yes, sports fans, there was another Game 1 last night as the 76ers and the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic opened their seasons at the Amway Arena. And the best thing that came out of it for the Sixers was that they won't play the Magic in Game 2.

The Magic made 26 of their first 39 shots, including 10 of 14 from beyond the arc, got a phenomenal performance from the bench and torched the Sixers , 120-106.

For the game, Orlando finished 45 of 81 (55.6 percent), including nailing 16 of their 29 three-point attempts (55.2 percent).

"They are really, really good," said Sixers coach Eddie Jordan, following his first regular-season game as the team's head coach. "The fact that they could make threes like that and have a post-up player like Dwight Howard . . . Our game plan was to take away the post-up and the rolls and the paint scorers. Their post game didn't really hurt us, but their threes destroyed us."

All during the preseason, Jordan talked of how his second team's performance was at a higher level than that of his starters. No one could have matched what the Magic subs did, particularly backup point guard Jason Williams. When Jameer Nelson picked up his second foul with 5 minutes, 8 seconds left in the first quarter, Williams came off the bench with his team trailing, 24-19. Williams, who wasn't in the league last year due to personal reasons, made all four of his shots, including three treys, dealt five assists and was instrumental in the Magic roaring to a 70-47 halftime lead after outscoring the Sixers in the second quarter, 41-20. Williams finished the game with 15 points.

"He has kept himself in shape and he played really well," Sixers forward Jason Kapono said of Williams. "He's played with Shaq [O'Neal], he's accustomed to playing with a dominant post presence. I think that system fits him well. He, along with 12 other guys tonight, played a great game."

As finely tuned as the Magic offense was, the Sixers' new Princeton offense seemed to stay up north.

Forward Andre Iguodala scored his only three points of the first half in the last 2 minutes, and finished with just eight for the game on 3 of 11 shooting from the floor. Elton Brand made only two field goals among his eight points and, more times than not, the offense settled for bad-looking jumpers.

Marreese Speights scored a game-high 26 points, missing just one of his 11 shots, and Lou Williams added 18 in his first NBA start.

Jordan and his players have said that it will take a while for the offense to fully kick in. They weren't lying. And it didn't appear if any of it worked against the Magic. If it weren't for the 13 first-half points from Speights, this one could have been even uglier.

"We're gonna grow," Brand said. "We're still tyring to get on the same page offensively. Defensively, they just knocked down a lot of shots."

Which leaves the question: How long will it take for the Sixers to figure out their defense?

Nelson (seven points, six assists in 21 minutes) and Williams continually broke down defenders with dribble-drives and either found an open teammate for an easy layup or dished out beyond the arc for a wide-open three-pointer; Dwight Howard was his normal Superman self (21 points, 15 rebounds), though the Sixers possessed absolutely no kryptonite; and newly acquired Vince Carter (15 points) did what he does best - score from anywhere on the court.

And then there were the subs.

Along with Williams, subs Brandon Bass, Marcin Gortat, J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes combined to score 48 points and nail six treys.

The Magic advanced to the NBA Finals a season ago, falling to the Lakers in five games. The Sixers went 41-41 and went down in six games in the first round to the Magic. The Sixers added Kapono and drafted Jrue Holiday, who was deactivated last night. The Magic lost Hedu Turkoglu to free agency, but traded for one of the best scorers this decade in Carter. That right there tells a lot about the gap between the two teams.

This one got so bad that Tiger Woods even left his courtside seat at the half. Maybe he wanted to catch the other Game 1.

"Give them a lot of credit," Jordan said. "It seemed like we were as bad as it looked, but I don't think so. It's part of the formula. How to get through a game like this and bounce back. It shows me that when all five guys do things right, we can be pretty good."

The Magic had all 12 doing a lot of things very right. And the gap between the two teams was obvious.

Game 2 for the Sixers will be tomorrow night at the Wachovia Center against the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 30, 2009


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