The Philadelphia 76ers needed some type of spark late against the Orlando Magic. They were unexpectedly locked in a tight battle with the young and rebuilding team after they saw their 16-point lead slip away.
The Magic went on a run using their youth and their energy to really bother the Sixers. They had rallied to build a 4-point lead and they had all the momentum before coach Doc Rivers inserted Andre Drummond into the game.
Drummond came in and made a big impact as he grabbed seven rebounds to go along with seven points in his time spanning from late in the third quarter to early in the fourth. That was a big difference as Philadelphia was able to pull away late 101-96 over the Magic and get back on the right track despite it not being the greatest game for the Sixers.
“It was a win,” said Rivers. “I’m not inspired. I thought the first six minutes, we played pretty much the right way with a lot of energy and then after that, I just don’t think we played very well. I thought Drumm basically changed the game with his offensive rebounds and his effort, but other than that, I’ll take any win. I’d rather win these than lose these and so you’ll take them and keep pushing on.”
Drummond finished with seven points and 12 rebounds on the night with six of those boards coming on the offensive glass. The Sixers seemed to be sleepwalking after halftime as they were confused a bit by the zone defense the Magic decided to use.
“When I went in the game, Sam Cassell pulled me to the side and said ‘We need some energy right now’,” said Drummond. “It was a little stale, guys were not giving much energy, so he gave me the assignment to go out there and just give the best energy I can and just get the momentum going. I did my job.”
The Sixers now need to take this effort with them back out on the road as they will face the Boston Celtics on Wednesday to begin a 4-game trip. They will need Drummond to provide the same energy and give the team that boost they need in order to move in the right direction again.