ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Sixers' futility continued as they stretched their losing streak to 14 in a row, dropping a 92-81 game to a downgraded Orlando Magic team.
The Sixers played only three quarters of a game, leading Orlando, 69-66, after three periods, but then scored only 12 points in the fourth quarter, not nearly enough to beat even the depleted Magic.
Orlando played without injured starters Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson, but still had enough to beat the Sixers.
Good and bad Young
Thaddeus Young scored 29 points on 13 of 25 shooting to lead the Sixers. Unfortunately, the man he was guarding at the other end, Tobias Harris, had 31 points on 11 of 20 shooting.
Young was able to get only five shots off in the fourth quarter – he did hit three – when the Sixers were starving for an offensive spark. The Sixers hit 5 of 18 shots (27.8 percent) when the game was being decided. Michael Carter-Williams, who made his first five shots in the game, was 0 for 4 in the fourth quarter with two turnovers.
A little defense
The Sixers much-maligned defense wasn’t as bad as usual this time. They limited Orlando to 92 points, only the seventh time this season they kept an opponent under 100. They also held the Magic to a respectable 42.2 percent shooting, but the defense laid down in the fourth quarter.
Orlando hit 9 of 18 field goal attempts in the final 12 minutes, including 6 of 9 shooting from reserves E’Twaun Moore, Kyle O’Quinn and Andrew Nicholson.
How it happened
The Sixers were actually in control of the game after Tony Wroten’s three-pointer gave them a 67-58 lead with under three minutes left in the third quarter. Reality struck quickly from there.
Orlando outscored the Sixers, 8-2, to finish the third quarter and cut the lead to 69-66. The Magic then opened the final period with a 13-2 run. An uncontested layup by O’Quinn, one of many defenseless moments by the Sixers during this 21-4 stretch, gave Orlando a 79-71 lead. That is not an insurmountable disadvantage for NBA teams, but it is for the Sixers.
The closest the Sixers got from there was 84-78 with just over two minutes left on a steal and fastbreak layup by Young. The rally officially died there.
Hanging in there
The loss keeps the Sixers within striking distance of Milwaukee in the battle for worst record in the NBA and the best chance at the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. Their 14 straight losses is the worst in 19 years. It wouldn’t hurt the Sixers' lottery chances if they could reach the team record of 20 straight losses held by the 9-73 team from 40 years ago.
The Sixers don’t have a lot to brag about defensively this season, and Ronnie Price isn’t a household name anywhere in the NBA, but the Sixers do “D” him up effectively. Price started in place of Nelson (sore calf) and was 0 for 7 in his 24 minutes.
He played 40 minutes against the Sixers in place of an injured Nelson earlier this year and went 0 for 6 that game, making him 0 for 13 in 64 minutes against the Sixers' backcourt.
The Sixers stay on the road, traveling to the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder for a game Tuesday night. They then head home to take on Western Conference doormat Utah.