Evan Fournier scored 20 points, and Aaron Gordon added 19 points and 11 rebounds as the host Orlando Magic held on for a 98-97 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.
Terrence Ross chipped in 17 points off the bench, and Nikola Vucevic collected 16 points, 12 boards and seven assists for the Magic, who improved to 10-6 at home after defeating Philadelphia for the second time this season. Orlando posted a 112-97 victory over the 76ers on Nov. 13.
Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid each recorded 24 points and 11 rebounds for Philadelphia, which nearly overcame an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter and saw its three-game winning streak come to a halt.
Gordon sank a pullup jumper, and Khem Birch’s tip-in pushed the Magic’s lead to 75-68 early in the fourth quarter, marking their largest advantage of the game to that point. Fournier drained a 3-pointer, Vucevic added one of his own, and Gordon’s reverse dunk appeared to put the game out of reach at 93-82 with 1:49 left.
Harris, Al Horford, Josh Richardson and Embiid each knocked down a 3-pointer as Philadelphia went on a 12-4 run to pull within three with 24.8 seconds remaining. However, after Orlando’s Markelle Fultz missed two foul shots, Fournier stole the ball and made one of two free throws to make it a two-possession game.
Embiid nailed another 3-pointer with 5.1 seconds left. The 76ers forced a turnover to get one last chance, but Embiid’s desperation attempt from beyond the arc fell short as time expired.
Embiid drained a 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down to push the 76ers’ lead to 62-54 with 6:26 remaining in the third quarter, but Orlando went on a 17-6 run to end the quarter with a three-point advantage.
Ben Simmons’ tip-in just before the buzzer gave Philadelphia a 47-46 lead at intermission. The 76ers shot just 40.5 percent (17 of 42) from the field and 27.3 from 3-point range (3 of 11) before the break while the Magic made just 36.7 percent (18 of 49) of their shots from the floor.
For the game, Orlando outshot Philadelphia 42 percent to 40.2 percent, with the Magic making 10 of 30 from 3-point range and the 76ers going 10 of 29 from long distance.
Both clubs are facing difficult back-to-back stretches as Philadelphia visits Miami on Saturday while Orlando travels to Milwaukee.
—Field Level Media