The Sixers (32-25) stretched their winning streak to seven games and remain undefeated at the Wells Fargo Center in 2018.
This game actually was important because of the Magic's *poor* record (18-41). The Sixers at times have struggled against sub.-500 teams, most recently narrowly escaping the Bulls on Thursday. The Magic is the type of opponent that easily could be overlooked, and the Sixers cannot afford to do that as they vie for playoff seeding.
The Sixers led by as many as 23 points during the game. But with the Sixers' starters out and four of the five Magic starters in, the Magic cut the deficit to nine points with under a minute to play. It is crucial for the Sixers' bench to be able to close out games like this for establishing depth and giving the starters rest that will benefit the team down the stretch.
•Joel Embiid recorded his 30th double-double of the season: 28 points and 14 rebounds in 27 minutes. He dropped 19 in the first half alone. Embiid reached 20 points for the 34th time this season. Check out his only block of the game:
IT'S A NO FROM JO.
And a finger wave to match. 😂 pic.twitter.com/cpa2EXW09d
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 24, 2018
•Ben Simmons scored in double-digits for the 50th time with 17 points, seven dimes and four rebounds.
•Brett Brown turned to Richaun Holmes off the bench behind Embiid instead of Amir Johnson. Holmes, who only has appeared in three of the Sixers' last 10 games, grabbed eight rebounds with four points.
•The Sixers are working on incorporating Marco Belinelli into the second unit. Brown envisions him having a JJ Redick-type role off the bench. The veteran guard scored 15 points in 27 minutes, shooting 6-for-12 from the field and 1-for-3 from long range.
•Aaron Gordon led the Magic with 20 points. He added seven points and seven assists.
•Wentz now has an open invitation to Sixers games whenever he wants:
— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) February 24, 2018
•Up next: The Sixers will begin a three-game road trip Sunday in Washington, D.C., against the Wizards (34-25), who currently hold the coveted fourth seed in the East that comes with homecourt advantage.