ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Nik Vucevic had 31 points and 14 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic beat the Philadelphia 76ers 103-98 on Sunday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Victor Oladipo scored 17 points for the Magic, who nearly squandered a 12-point lead in the final five minutes. Willie Green had 16 points, and Channing Frye finished with 15.
JaKarr Sampson and Robert Covington had 16 points apiece for Philadelphia, which has dropped three in a row. Isaiah Canaan scored 14 points in his first game since he was acquired in a trade with Houston.
Orlando grabbed control with a 10-0 run in the final period, shutting out Philadelphia for four minutes while opening a 91-79 lead. Oladipo started the spurt with a 3-pointer and Tobias Harris finished it off with a baseline drive and jam that got the quiet crowd involved for one of the few times in the game.
The cheering didn’t last for very long.
Covington started the Philadelphia rally with a three-point play, and then Sampson scored 11 straight Sixers points. His driving layup with 1:37 to play cut the Magic lead to 96-95.
Oladipo and Green then combined for three free throws, and Vucevic’s dunk with 47 seconds remaining made it 101-95.
Canaan responded with his fourth 3-pointer with 31 seconds left, but Oladipo made two more foul shots to close out the win for the Magic.
Frye hit his first five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and the Magic shot 52.3 percent against a disorganized Philly defense in the first half. When Philadelphia got out on the perimeter on defense, Vucevic punished them inside, scoring 13 points, many of them second-chance shots.
The Sixers weren’t much better at the other end, turning the ball over 13 times and relying almost exclusively on 3-pointers to keep the game close. Philadelphia hit five 3s in the second period and trailed 55-47 at halftime.
Vucevic had 13 points and six rebounds in the third period when the Magic threatened to blow the game open, but Orlando couldn’t sustain any momentum and never got a double-digit lead until the last five minutes of the game.
Sixers: Reserve C Henry Sims is the only player to appear in all 55 games for Philadelphia this season. … The Sixers have not won a game this season (0-34) when their shooting percentage is lower than their opponent. . Sixers coach Brett Brown and Magic coach James Borrego spent seven seasons together in San Antonio.
Magic: Frye was 3 of 15 from the field in his previous three games, but went 6 for 10 against Philadelphia. … Tobias Harris returned to the lineup after missing three games with a bruised knee. He scored four points in 25 minutes.
NEW COACH, NEW DIRECTION
Borrego said he is trying to create an identity for his team, especially on defense. Orlando is giving up 10.7 points less per game than it did under former coach Jacques Vaughn.
“This group should feel good because they’re moving in the right direction,” Borrego said. “But we’re far from a finished product. We’ve got a long way to go and our group understands that, but they’re committed to it.”
ANOTHER NEW FACE
Brown shrugged when asked about starting Canaan in his first game since joining the team from Houston.
“We’ve had a lot of practice welcoming people coming in trying to figure it out so this isn’t catching us off guard,” Brown said. “You’re forced to keep things incredibly simple. His identifiable NBA skill is that he can shoot. Sometimes that doesn’t translate into having 15 assists and somewhere we’re going to need that kind of balance from him.”
Canaan was 5 for 12 from the field in 29 minutes. The point guard also had three assists.
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