Magic jump out early, hold off 76ersNov 7, 2008 - 5:43 AM By Zach Chalifour PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- The Orlando Magic have found their groove.
Following a lackluster start to the season in which the Magic lost their first two games, Rashard Lewis led the team to its third consecutive victory with a 98-88 triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.
Lewis scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half, helping Orlando post a large lead that proved insurmountable.
Hedo Turkoglu added 20 points and Jameer Nelson put forth his best effort of the season with nine assists to complement his 16-point performance.
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy was pleased with the effort of the home team, especially Nelson.
"We played the game great, moving the ball well all game, even when our shots weren't finding the basket," Van Gundy said. "Jameer was in attack mode all night, the best he's played all year."
Thaddeus Young continued his outstanding play for the 76ers, leading the team in scoring for the fourth straight game with 19 points.
Young shot just 39 percent from the field - indicative of a Philadelphia team which could not find its shot. The 76ers posted a season-low 38 percent (36-of-95) mark from the floor.
Andre Iguodala posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but did not seemed pleased by his performance.
"I'm having the ball a lot more, and still trying to find where I'm getting the open shots now," Iguodala said. "I'm getting more comfortable, but we didn't have enough communication on what we wanted to do (on offense) and as a result, we struggled."
Orlando stretched the lead to 23 points in the third quarter, but six points from Young at the end of the period led the way for a fourth-quarter push. The Sixers cut it to 80-74 with 8:37 left in the game before the home team ran away with the victory.
Without Dwight Howard for all but the first minute of the first quarter due to two personal fouls, the Magic pulled out to a 30-16 lead. Tony Battie led the way in the first with eight points off the bench.
"I was just trying to get things going, get comfortable, and do as much as I could to hold up the fort until Dwight got back," Battie said. "While we missed Dwight, I was ready for my number to be called and glad to contribute."
Howard made it just four minutes into the second quarter before picking up his third foul and heading back to the bench until halftime.
"Dwight got almost as much rest as I did in the first half," Van Gundy joked after the game.
Nonetheless, Battie teamed with Howard and Lewis to hold Sixers big man Elton Brand to just six points.
"We did a great job of getting the double-team on Brand with Rashard (Lewis) getting in on the double-team quick enough, before he could get open in the paint," Van Gundy said. "When he gets it in the paint, you're not stopping him."
Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks saw the newly-acquired Brand as still being in a period of adjustment.
"We're still learning how to play with him," Cheeks said. "We did a much better job in the second half of getting him out of the double-team. So as time moves on he should continue to improve."
ORLANDO 98 FINAL
Nov 6 10:44 PM
ORLANDO 75 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 6 10:10 PM
ORLANDO 54 HALFTIME
Nov 6 9:22 PM
ORLANDO 30 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 6 8:46 PM
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