Magic struggle early, tie late before edging Sixers in OT

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy looked like the spirit had been drained from him during Wednesday morning's shootaround as he described what he wasn't seeing from his team following a disappointing 2-3 road trip.

The Magic had shown glimpses of a championship-caliber team heading into the midway point of their schedule, but Van Gundy craved more fight from his rebuilt team heading into its final 41 games.

It took awhile for the Magic to show it Wednesday night, but a 99-98 overtime win over the Philadelphia 76ers was certainly a nice turnaround for a team poised to prove its still one of the Eastern Conference's elite.

Jason Richardson converted a 4-point play with 17 seconds left, Dwight Howard scored 18 points before fouling out late in regulation and Orlando snapped a two-game win streak for the Sixers.

Reserve Ryan Anderson scored 20 to lead the Magic, who survived another slow start and spotty defense with some big baskets down the stretch.

Lou Williams led Philadelphia with 19 points and Thaddeus Young had 17.

"It was a different outcome," Richardson said. "On the road when we were down by 20, we'd keep on fighting and fighting and always end up short. ... But tonight I thought we played well the whole game. I thought we shot the ball really well and I thought we did a good job on the defensive end.

"I thought tonight was one of those nights when the resilience did kick in."

Orlando trailed after the first quarter for the sixth time in seven games.

The Magic took a 95-92 lead in overtime, before back-to-back baskets by Andre Iguodala put the Sixers back up 96-95.

J.J. Redick was fouled on a 3-pointer and hit his free throw to put the Magic back up 99-96 with 1:44 left. Young scored to trim the lead to 99-98 with 43.4 left. But after a miss, the Magic won a scramble for the ball to secure the win.

"Tonight it actually worked out for us," said Redick, who finished with 12 points. "We were able to make the plays like Jason's 4-point play and then in overtime to win it ... The season is long and there will be time periods when we have down games, and a stretch when we go on a win streak. You can't pinpoint one game, but hopefully this will start another winning streak."

Trailing 70-63 entering the final quarter, Orlando picked up its defense, forced some quick shots and scored seven straight points to pull within 72-71 with 9:59 to play. Two free throws by Howard a few trips later gave the Magic a one-point lead with at the 9:29 mark.

Hedo Turkoglu's basket tied it, before Iguodala's fade away made it 86-84 with 1:04 to play.

Howard fouled out going for a rebound on the Magic's next trip and after a technical free throw by Williams for a delay of game, the Sixers got the ball back with 49.4 seconds left.

Iguodala was fouled by Brandon Bass on a layup attempt and hit a pair of free-throws to make it 89-84. A free throw by Williams made it 90-86. But on the next trip he fouled Richardson on a 3-pointer, and Richardson completed the play at the line.

As for Philadelphia, which officially reached the halfway point of its season with Wednesday's loss, Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said another late-game lull again doomed his team.

" I think we had a 5-minute stretch where we scored one basket, and about a 3- or 4-four minute stretch to start the third quarter," Collins said. "You can't come into Orlando and have those dry spells against a team like that. You just can't do it."

Until the Sixers can do that, Iguodala said it will be hard to get close calls in games down the stretch.

"We can't let [the games] boil down to that, then maybe we'll get a little more respect down the stretch, with how the game is called sometimes," Iguodala said. "I don't know if we earned that respect or not. We play hard every night ... [But] we never get it."

Game notes
With its victory, Orlando improves to 1-1 in overtime games this season... Anderson's game-high 20-point effort marked the first time since joining the Magic that he has led the team in scoring... This was the third game the Sixers have played that has been decided by four or few points.


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