April 23rd, 2009 11:58 EST
Orlando Magic Ward Off 76ers' Late-Game Drive To Take Game 2
By half-time the Magic pulled ahead of the 76ers 7 points, but after the 76ers regained momentum and negated a 18 point deficit, Dwight Howard and Courtney Lee led Orlando to a Game 2 victory 96-87. Orlando`s rookie guard Lee had 24 points while forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis boasted 16 points to pace the team in their crucial Game 2 win. NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award recipient Dwight Howard added 11 points and 10 rebounds to the final score. Forward Rashard Lewis banked a couple insurance jump shots in the final moments of the 4th period to give Orlando the 4-1 advantage over Philadelphia in the contests pairing up the two this season.
Guard Andre Miller led the Sixers in points with 30, 13 of which were authored in the 1st term as Miller went 6 of 7 in the period. Forward Andre Iguodala took charge of Philadelphia`s late-game drive by scoring 20 of his 21 points in the second half of the game. Sixers` center Samuel Dalembert played just under 9 minutes during the game, and only contributed 2 points before he committed a technical foul on Dwight Howard: nearly a re-creation of the same offense in Game 1 which injure Howard`s eyes. But Howard tempered the opinion going into the game he wasn`t up to form, early and often.
Still in the 1st quarter, Orlando scored 9 uncontested points topped off by a cross-court pass from Anthony Johnson resulting in a sensational two-hand dunk by Dwight Howard. Iguodala inadvertently fouled Turkoglu as he faded back on a layup attempt, after which the Orlando forward made both of his free throw tries.
By showing a strong finish in the 1st half and leading by 7 points, the Magic changed gears to continue their success into the 2nd half.
The Sixers only trailed by 5 points before Howard and Lee kicked their game up a notch.
Howard made several slam dunks, while teammate Lee delivered key jumpers in the duo`s inside-out game, punctuating the Magic`s third-quarter 16-5 burst. Orlando guard Rafer Alston missed a layup attempt that was quickly gathered by Howard in mid-air before he slammed it through the hoop, capping an 18 point lead by Orlando halfway through the quarter.
But the resilent 76ers followed through strong in the 4th period and almost repeated their clutch scoring run that gave them the victory in Game 1. Philadelphia cut Orlando`s lead down to 5 in the 4th quarter followed an unanswered layup from reserve Louis Williams. As the Magic`s offense shut down momentarily, many of those in the crowd recalled how the visiting team quieted their spirit in the last contest.
And after Dwight Howard was involved in an untimely technical foul with 3 minutes 11 seconds left in the 4th period, Orlando seemed destined to fall 2 games into the cellar early in the series.
When the Sixers reclaimed their composure and brought them 5 points away from tying the game, the Magic fended off the Sixers` assault, featuring a Rashard Lewis jumpshot that handed Orlando a 88-79 advantage. Lewis further stifled the visitors` chances when he snagged a rebound and later tacked on another layup with 28 minutes 48 seconds left in the 4th term. The Sixers could never recover from the blow from then on, being down 8 points.
With the loss, Philadelphia goes home with the series all tied up and in a similar situation they faced last year when they were pitted against the heavily favored Detroit Pistons. The Sixers fell to the Pistons in 6 games. In fact, Philadelphia hasn`t won a playoff series since their first round victory against the New Orleans Hornets in 2003.