Magic 103, 76ers 87
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)
As Orlando prepared to play its 30th game of the season, coach Stan Van Gundy made it clear that the Magic's defense wasn't close to where it needed to be.
Luckily for Van Gundy, the Magic are producing more than enough offense - particularly from the 3-point line - to get by for now.
Orlando earned its third straight victory, made 15 of 25 attempts from 3-point range, had all five starters reach double figures for the second consecutive game and avenged a loss to the Sixers last month that was the capstone of a season-high, four-game losing skid.
''I think we just wanted to move on from that bad stretch,'' said Anderson, who hit his first four 3-point attempts. ''We knew how we could play. We played like this in segments earlier in the season. We want to make this a consistent thing coming out with a ton of effort and energy.''
Jason Richardson had 14 points, including four 3s.
Point guard Jameer Nelson, who tied a career-high 14 assists to go along with 12 points said he is most impressed with how Anderson is finding his own opportunities offensively.
''People don't understand that this guy is averaging 16 or 17 points without having a playing called for him all season,'' he said. ''(Anderson's) just growing. He's developed a lot of confidence. We've always had confidence in him as a group. We always knew he was a great player and probably one of the greatest shooters in the league.''
The Magic have hit 68 3-pointers in their last five games. They are 4-1 over that span and have won seven of nine since their Jan. 30 loss in Philadelphia.
It is a hot streak that even Van Gundy has no choice but to marvel at. Though he said his team's unselfishness on the offensive end has been the most welcomed occurrence from his perspective.
As a team, Orlando shot 53 percent from the field (40 for 75) and had 30 points in the paint.
''Those have always been our better offensive games when we have a lot of people involved and shots are fairly balanced,'' Van Gundy said.
Sixers coach Doug Collins wasn't surprised at all with how Orlando's shots were falling.
''They've been shooting like that,'' he said. ''Them being solid like that ain't a mystery...We had a horrible start to the game, fought back to get in it, had a horrible finish to the second quarter, to get it to within six and then give them a 10-0 run. And then we're fighting uphill the entire night.''
Philadelphia also helped out with 14 turnovers that led to 13 Magic points.
''In the past we have had issues with just banging teams,'' Williams said. ''They are a match up problem for us, but we were able to trump them in the first game because we got our work done early. Tonight, they got off to a good start and we were not able to bounce back.''
The Magic's 16-point halftime lead was cut to eight at 88-80 with less than 5 minutes to play in the game.
But Orlando quickly responded with an 8-2 spurt, capped by consecutive 3-pointers by Anderson and Richardson, to make it 97-82.
Two more 3-pointers by the Magic a few possessions later - both following Sixers turnovers - got it to 103-86 with under a minute a play to put the game out of reach.
The Magic's strong shooting night started early as they sizzled offensively in the first half and led 55-39, connecting on 57 percent (22 for 38) of their attempts overall from the field and 53 percent (7 for 13) from beyond the arc.
Anderson led all scorers in the half with 14 points.
Howard was just as active inside, with 13 points and seven rebounds. As a team the Magic outscored the Sixers 20-10 in the paint.
Williams had 11 first-half points to the lead the Sixers. But they turned it over eight times, leading to eight Orlando points on the other end - setting a tone that continued in the final 24 minutes.
Van Gundy has been hard on himself recently after the Magic's losses, but took no credit for how well his team looked against the Sixers.
''When you play well, it's always the players,'' Van Gundy said. ''They decide when they're going to play with energy, when they're going to move the ball. They make that decision.''
Notes: Howard had his 23rd double-double of the season. ...F Glen Davis played his second game since the passing of his father on Sunday. Davis, who previously took a sabbatical from the team after his grandmother's death last month, was set to leave again after Wednesday's game to be with family. Van Gundy said there's no specific timetable for his return. ... The Sixers fell to 0-6 this season when their opponent scores at least 100 points.