Anderson leads way as Magic hold off 76ers 113-100
By KYLE HIGHTOWER
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) It's no secret that Dwight Howard probably won't be walking through the Orlando Magic locker room door the rest of the regular season.
Not an ideal situation, for sure. But for team that has already locked up a playoff berth, it has at least eliminated the daily guessing game going into this final stretch of the regular-season.
The bottom line is the Magic will have to win with the players they've got. And for the second straight game they embraced the hand they've been dealt.
The Magic won their second straight game and played their fifth consecutive without All-Star center Dwight Howard, who is out indefinitely with a herniated disc in his back. He has missed seven games overall with the injury, and Orlando improved to 3-4 in his absence.
"This is what the NBA and team sports are all about," said forward Quentin Richardson, who scored 13 points. "Guys go down, that's unfortunate, but it gives other guys opportunities that they never had before. Daniel (Orton) and Earl (Clark) - guys are making the most of it... This is one of the best victories I've been a part of in a while."
Davis suffered the injury during the Magic's win at Cleveland on Sunday, ending a string of eight consecutive starts he made in place of either Howard or Anderson.
The good news for the injury-plagued Magic, though, was there was no structural damage shown in an MRI taken on Davis' knee.
With Davis out, Daniel Orton made his first career start. Other than a pair of starts at the Magic's D-League affiliate last season, it was Orton's first start since the state championship game his senior year of high school in Oklahoma. He followed up a career scoring night against Cleveland with six points and six rebounds against the Sixers.
Clark was equally active, tying a career-high with 14 points and setting a new one with 11 rebounds. It was his first-ever double-double.
Jameer Nelson also had a double-double with 16 points and 13 assists. The last time the Magic had three double-doubles in a game was Nov. 4, 2009, at home against Phoenix.
"That's was just tremendous team effort," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "And it's two games in a row now, this against a playoff team needing a win. Obviously we want to get guys and get them healthy, but it's not about one or two guys, it's about a team. And that's what we've been the last two nights is a team."
Both teams shot 50 percent for the night, but the Magic were aided by a 46-30 rebounding advantage.
The Sixers lost their second straight game. They continue their second back-to-back-to-back stretch of the season Tuesday against Indiana.
"They just shot the lights out," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "They really did."
Evan Turner said it seems like Anderson perks up when he plays against them.
"He'd be a Hall of Famer if he played against us every day," Turner said. "He knows how to work the system to his advantage. It seems like he never misses versus us."
To counter the Magic's small lineup, the Sixers started Elton Brand at center, though foul trouble limited his effectiveness.
The shorter lineups produced fast-paced basketball on each end. It led to a game played on the perimeter with Orlando shooting 11 for 18 (61 percent) from beyond the arc. The Sixers were 9 for 18 on 3-pointers.
The Magic led by 15 in the third quarter before having their lead trimmed to seven on a 3 by Williams with just under 3 minutes to play.
It was 106-99 after a jumper by Turner before Nelson's back-to-back baskets pushed the lead back to 11 to seal it. Nelson finished with 16.
Brand was forced to the bench less than 9 minutes into the game after picking up his second foul and sat the rest of the first half as the Magic took a six-point lead into halftime.
Orlando also got help from six 3s in the half.
Anderson led the scoring wave with 15 points. He was followed by Richardson, who scored all of his eight points in succession during a 12-2 Magic spurt to start the second quarter.
As strange as it might sound, Jason Richardson said Howard is the last thing the team is thinking about.
"We're just playing ball," he said. "When he gets back it'll be great. We definitely want him back because we know how dominant he is on both ends of the floor. But right now we're just going with whoever is on the floor."
NOTES: The Magic improved to 24-4 when scoring 100 or more points. ... Davis said he is expecting to be ready to play the Magic's game at Boston on Wednesday. "Luckily I've got big bones," Davis joked in the locker room before the game. Before he had the streak broken against Cleveland Sunday, Davis had seven straight games in double-figures. ... Collins said that he isn't dwelling on the inopportune timing of his team's second back-to-back-to-back of the season. He said having the New York Knicks on their heels for the seventh spot also helps them focus on each game. "It's one of those mental things and we just gotta fight through it. We've got too much at stake," Collins said.
Updated April 16, 2012