PHILADELPHIA – Jameer Nelson had 22 points and 10 assists, and the Orlando Magic beat the Philadelphia 76ers 126-105 on Monday night.
All five starters scored at least 14 points for the Magic. They reached the 100-point mark late in the third quarter and kept the pressure on in the fourth to match their highest point total of the season.
Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis each scored 19 points, and Dwight Howard had 14. Orlando hit five 3-pointers in the third and shot 69 percent to turn a seven-point lead at halftime into a total rout.
The Sixers played without Elton Brand (right Achilles' tendinitis) and Allen Iverson (personal).
Howard seemed to have more fun on the bench than in the game. Instead of resting in the fourth, he had the reserves up and jumping around and celebrating baskets. With his uniform top off, he was the first Magic reserve off the bench going into timeouts to greet the second and third-teamers who extended the lead.
The 76ers are just waiting for this season to end. They were competitive for most of the first half until completely falling apart after the break.
Lewis and Carter hit 3s to stretch Orlando's lead to 12 points for the first time. The Magic kept rolling from there. Nelson dished his 10th assist to Lewis for another 3-pointer and the Magic were cruising, 94-79.
Nelson swished a pull-up 3-pointer with 1:02 left to give the Magic 102 points through three quarters. Fans started fleeing for the exits and the few that remained chanted "Fire Eddie!"
They had their pick of Eds: 76ers coach Eddie Jordan or team president Ed Stefanski. Both are responsible for this debacle of a season.
Jrue Holiday scored a career-high 23 points for the Sixers. Andre Iguodala scored 19 and Thaddeus Young, starting for Brand, had 17.
Howard, who leads the NBA in rebounding, didn't grab his first one until the second quarter. His opportunities were sparse for most of the first half.
The first half resembled an NBA All-Star game: run, shoot, defender makes halfhearted attempt to defend. Each team cracked 70 percent shooting in the first quarter. (The Magic were 15-of-21; 76ers 14-of-20).
Nelson, the former Saint Joseph's star, was sensational in leading Orlando to a 68-61 lead at the break. He scored 17 points, had six assists and flawlessly ran the offense. Coach Stan Van Gundy praised Nelson before the game for his improvement in all areas, notably a more aggressive, attacking style at the basket.
Shooting cooled off for both teams in the second quarter – except for Nelson. He made all three baskets, including a 3-pointer.
Orlando defeated the 76ers in six games in last year's first-round playoff series. … Brand did not play on "Elton Brand Night." All Brand merchandise was 25 percent off. … The Magic scored 120 points against the 76ers on Oct. 28.
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