Howard Smith/USA TODAY
Screwy things can happen in double overtime. The legs go quickly, shots fall short and defense becomes that much tougher trying to track down cutters and rebounding assignments.
Heroes can emerge. Records can get shattered.
Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams recorded their first career triple doubles, matching each other point for point it seemed in becoming the first rookies to record their first triple doubles in the same game. Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo and Victor Oladipo each set career highs in points.
For those that care more about how the team develops and about the win/loss column though, the only stat that would matter is what happened on the offensive glass. If it were not for the Sixers getting 31 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds, some coming without much resistance from the Magic defense.
Orlando answered those runs by forcing turnovers and getting superb offensive play from Oladipo and Afflalo with Davis contributing too. The Magic made plays down the stretch when they had to, including a Glen Davis 3-pointer to force overtime. Philadelphia continued to open the door for the Magic to get back into the game with missed free throws and turnovers.
The Magic were willing to fight to get back into the game time and time again. There was no doubting the fight. Eventually though, the tired legs got to them and Philadelphia's willingness to work on the glass got to them. Arron Afflalo missed a 3-pointer late in overtime and the 76ers held on for a 126-125 double overtime win at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.
Orlando's offense was working really well, but it leaned heavily on the big trio of Magic players with Nikola Vucevic out with a sprained ankle suffered Monday night in Washington and Jameer Nelson still out with a sprained foot.
Victor Oladipo scored a career-high 26 points to go with a career-best 10 assists and a career-high 10 rebounds (grabbed in the second overtime period). Arron Afflalo had a career-high 43 points, including a clutch trio of free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt in the first overtime. Glen Davis also scored a career-high 33 points. Amazing that seems like a bit of a footnote.
Jacque Vaughn had to lean heavily on those players to score with his team's defense facing inconsistency particularly on the offensive glass. The group that was on the floor down the stretch -- which added Andrew Nicholson and Ronnie Price to the group -- worked hard to make up for the shortcomings on the glass to get stops.
Philadelphia committed eight turnovers in the fourth quarter, giving Orlando the opportunity to keep up and give itself a chance.
It is hard to faul the effort in that phase of the game. It was just on the offensive glass that was the issue. Michael Carter-Williams had seven offensive rebounds in the game. The Magic were caught in bad switches and gave up easy lanes to the glass. Guards were leading the game in rebounds.
This was perhaps the moment of the biggest quibble is why Orlando stuck with Glen Davis (three rebounds), Jason Maxiell (three rebounds), Andrew Nicholson (four rebounds) as the big-man rotation when the team was struggling to get rebounds. The fact, as those stats show, was the Magic were not rebounding. Maybe switching to a bigger backcourt with Maurice Harkless in it or going with Kyle O'Quinn helps, maybe it does not.
Orlando was constantly missing box out assignments and getting outpositioned and outworked on the glass. That would ultimately prove to be the team's Achilles heel on a night the offense played so well.
The Magic shot 50.0 percent from the floor and got to the line 32 times, 15 times in the first quarter to help build a seven-point lead early on. It looked like the Magic might have smooth sailing from there. Turnovers and rebounds brought the Sixers back into the game and gave them the lead. Effort brought the Magic back.
The second overtime though was a completely different story than the rest of the game however. Orlando was clearly tired as shots came up well short and defensive rotations were woefully late.
The Magic could not survive another five minutes after fighting just to get into the first extra period. Give that loss to the schedule, perhaps?
Either way, Orlando left something on the floor with all those offensive rebounds the team conceded. That stings the most in this long game ultimately decided by one point.