Shorthanded Sixers fall to Magic in OT

Orlando Magic's Evan Fournier (10) gets off a shot as he gets between Philadelphia 76ers' Justin Anderson, left, and Robert Covington, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 20, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. Orlando won in overtime 112-109.

ORLANDO - The undermanned 76ers couldn't hold on and ultimately suffered a heartbreaking loss.

The Orlando Magic took a 112-109 overtime victory Monday night at the Amway Center. The loss denied the Sixers (26-44) the opportunity to win three consecutive games for the fourth time this season.

The Sixers simply ran out of gas and players and fell apart.

They started the game with just nine available players. They ended the night with only seven eligible bodies.


Would the 76ers be better off keeping Richaun Holmes or Jahlil Okafor?

Dario Saric fouled out with 3 minutes, 52 seconds to play in regulation. Then Richaun Holmes, who had a career-tying 24 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, fouled out with 7.2 seconds remaining in the overtime.

The Magic (26-45) scored their final six points from the foul line en route to taking the three-point victory. The Sixers, however, lost a commanding 17-point, third-quarter cushion.

That was in large part because they shot just 28.6 percent - including 2 of 9 three-pointers - and committed seven of their 16 turnovers in the fourth quarter.

The Sixers were exhausted, as Robert Covington (44:53), Holmes (42:00), Nik Stauskas (39:01) and T.J. McConnell (34:25) all played extended minutes.

"It could be that and we didn't make shots that we usually make down the stretch," McConnell said. "It could be a little bit of both. Like I always say, they just made a few more plays than us, made a few more shots and that was the difference."

The Magic basically won the game from the foul line. They made all 11 of their free throws in the fourth quarter before going 8 for 9 in overtime. Meanwhile, the Sixers were 1 for 2 in the fourth and did not attempt a foul shot in the extra session.

For the game, the Sixers made 22 of 24 foul shots, compared with 38 of 46 for the Magic, who nearly doubled the Sixers' attempts.

"We knew before the game that they were an aggressive defensive team," Magic guard Evan Fournier said. "They foul a lot. The key was to stay aggressive and make free throws, which I didn't. Just stay in attack more."

Fournier made 6 of 10 free throws but finished with 19 points. Nik Vucevic finished with a game-high 26 points to go with a team-high 13 rebounds.

Holmes posted his second double-double of the season and added four assists. Covington had 24 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Stauskas had 20 points off the bench. Saric added 18 points, while McConnell finished with 16 points and a game-high 11 assists.

One of the Sixers, Justin Anderson (one point, seven rebounds), was dealing with gastroenteritis. Anderson, who missed Sunday's win over Boston, did not even arrive in Orlando until three hours before the game.

At least he played.

Jahlil Okafor was sidelined with right knee soreness. The Sixers list the second-year player as day-to-day.

Reserve shooting Gerald Henderson missed the game to rest his left hip. The Sixers no longer play him on back-to-back nights.

Anderson, who missed Sunday's game, had a chance to become the hero in regulation. With the score tied, he drove the lane but was stripped by Elfrid Payton right before time expired. There was some contact on the play, but officials ruled it a clean strip.

In the overtime, Jodie Meeks made a foul shot to give the Magic a 99-98 lead. Evan Fournier gave them a three-point cushion with 3:08 left.

The Sixers went on to knot the score twice. The second time came on Covington's three-pointer to tie it at 104 with 45.9 seconds left.

But Terrence Ross responded with a jumper to give the Magic a two-point lead 12 seconds later. Then Ross hit a pair of foul shots to make it a 108-104 game with 17.4 seconds remaining.