Magic 95, 76ers 89
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—The Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers are finally done suffering through their worst seasons in years. There’s no telling who will be around the next time they again taste success.
In a matchup between two squads that might dismantle their rosters in the offseason, Juwan Howard scored 26 points, leading the Magic to a 95-89 win over the 76ers on Wednesday night.
Gone over the summer could be Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady, winners of the last four scoring titles. Philadelphia interim coach Chris Ford may be fired soon. Every Magic player is on the block, befitting the team with the NBA’s worst record, and most of the Sixers can be bought if the price is right.
“Obviously, when you have the season that we’ve had, you need to look at everything,” said Orlando coach Johnny Davis, one of the few men around with a secure future. “We’ll examine where we are and what we need to do, put it back together and start fresh next year.”
McGrady, the league’s scoring leader for a second straight year, may be traded as the Magic rebuild from their most disappointing season in franchise history.
His seven-year, $93 million contract runs through the 2006-07 season, but he can opt out of the deal after next season. Earlier Wednesday, Orlando general manager John Weisbrod said he’d like McGrady to stay, but if he knows McGrady won’t be back after next season, trading him would be the best move.
“I don’t want to leave. I’ll be the first to tell you, I don’t want to leave,” said McGrady, who missed his ninth straight game with knee tendinitis. “But I’m a competitor and I want to win.”
Orlando (21-61) won its fewest games since the 1991-92 season. A three-year streak of playoff appearances also ended.
Still, the Magic found a scrap of pride in their modest two-game winning streak following a 13-game skid. The last time Orlando posted back-to-back victories was Feb. 18-22, when it won three straight.
“If feels good to end the season with a win,” Howard said. “But we all have a lot of work to do.”
Iverson missed his 12th straight game (36th overall), and there is talk his stay in Philadelphia may be over after eight seasons, five trips to the playoffs and the 2001 MVP award. Yet GM Billy King said Tuesday that Iverson told him he wants to stay.
Ford’s status also is up in the air. After taking over for the fired Randy Ayers on Feb. 10, Ford won 12 of 30 games and repeatedly feuded with Iverson.
“We’ll have meetings with Billy King and see what happens,” Ford said.
Added Kenny Thomas, who scored 18 points: “I hope everybody comes back.”
Samuel Dalembert had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Philadelphia, which ended the season on a four-game slide.
The Sixers (33-49) finished with their worst record in six years. The 1997-98 season also was the last time Philadelphia missed the playoffs.
“It’s a vacation come too early, and you’ve got to make the most of the down time,” Ford said. “After a little vacation, the young players have to get back to working on their games.”
Orlando broke away late in the game with nine straight points for a 92-84 lead with 1:31 remaining. Howard had four points and five of his seven reboundsin the run.
Orlando center Zaza Pachulia didn’t play because of a bruised right elbow. … Attendance was announced at 14,767, giving the Magic a season turnstile count of 591,176. The franchise’s worst turnout in a 41-game home season is 576,409, set in the post-lockout season of 1999-00. … Eric Snow was hit with a technical in the third quarter for arguing a block/goaltendingcall.