For five seasons, the Orlando Magic and their fans monitored the NBA standings to see where the team stood relative to the top of the Eastern Conference and Southeast Division.
The team and its followers continue to monitor the standings — just a different portion of the standings.
Orlando continued its freefall toward the NBA's cellar Monday night. Playing without injured starters Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis, Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick, the Magic scored a season-low point total and lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 78-61 at Wells Fargo Center.
"It's tough," center Nik Vucevic said. "Our main guys are out, our main scorers, the veteran guys, so it was tough. But we're a tough group. We're going to play hard every night no matter what."
But for Orlando, playing hard hasn't translated into wins, at least not lately. The team lost its 10th consecutive game — tying its longest losing streak of the season — and for the 21st time over its last 23 games.
The team that ends the season with the league's worst record will hold the best chance of winning the NBA draft lottery on May 21. The Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers, both 14-34, have the third-worst record in the league. They lead the Washington Wizards by 1½ games and the bottom-feeding Charlotte Bobcats by 2½ games.
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn emphasized the positive. That's his nature. He pointed out that his team held the Sixers to 45.6 percent shooting, and it was one of the team's better efforts on defense in weeks.
"I really give credit to the character of the guys that suit up and play and are in that locker room whether who's playing or not playing," Vaughn said. "They had it in their minds that we were going to come here and play hard and try to get a win and nothing less."
The team just didn't have the necessary firepower on offense.
Minus 4 starters, the Magic fall to the 76ers 78-61
Orlando Sentinel | Feb 5