- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The 76ers want the ball in Joel Embiid’s hands as they try to build a winner.

So did the Magic in the waning minutes in Philly.

Embiid traveled and fumbled in the final 36 seconds of the game, and Orlando pounced on the miscues in a 103-101 victory over the bumbling 76ers on Tuesday night.

Serge Ibaka sank two free throws with 1.4 seconds left to snap a tie and help the Magic rally from an 18-point deficit to win for the first time in four games this season.

“I work on my free throws every day,” Ibaka said. “When I got the opportunity, I just told myself go down and shoot.”

Embiid was whistled for traveling with 38.6 seconds remaining and the Sixers ahead 101-99, giving Orlando one more chance to tie the score. Evan Fournier drove down the lane and banked an uncontested layup for the tying score.

Embiid, the 7-foot-2 center out of Kansas, then lost his dribble at the top of the key and Orlando snagged the ball with 5.7 seconds left. Sixers guard T.J. McConnell was whistled for a flagrant foul on Ibaka’s layup attempt. Ibaka made both and the Magic retained possession and kept the Sixers winless.

Hailed as the cornerstone of Philly’s rebuilding stage, Embiid had four turnovers to go with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

“I turned the ball over and they got the ball back, so …,” Embiid said softly, his voice trailing off.

Ibaka scored 21 points and Nik Vucevic had 24 points and 14 rebounds.

“Maybe this is a sign of things to come,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said.

Hollis Thompson led the Sixers with 22 points, and Dario Saric scored 21.

The Sixers blew an 18-point lead in the third quarter and let the Magic tie the game at 82. The Magic made 16 of 22 shots in the third for 41 points after they made 19 baskets and scored 43 points in the first half.

Former Sixers team president Sam Hinkie wanted Saric in the 2014 draft and swung a quick deal after Orlando took the Croatian forward 12th overall. The Sixers sent Elfrid Payton to Orlando even though they knew Saric would remain overseas for at least two years.

Payton, who scored 18 points, made the decisive swipe against Embiid to seal the win.

Saric hardly seemed worth the wait in his first two games. He made only four of 21 shots (19 percent) and missed six of seven 3-pointers.

He found his touch against the Magic. He was 3 of 4 on 3s through three quarters for 17 points and at least put the Sixers in position for a win.

Embiid, drafted third by Sixers in ‘14, and Saric had been men of mystery for the last two seasons. Saric buried a step-back baseline jumper for a 99-95 lead and Embiid sank a pair of free throws with 1:38 left that made it 101-97.

It just wasn’t enough.

“I see Joel fatiguing right now, quickly,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said.

TIP-INS

Magic: Vogel credits Sixers assistant Jim O’Brien for jump-starting his coaching career. Vogel was an assistant under O’Brien at Indiana. “I owe it all to him,” Vogel said. … Vogel won his first game with the Magic.

Sixers: UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and film director M. Night Shyamalan were at the game. … The Sixers are 0-3. They started 0-18 last season and 0-17 in 2014-15. … The Sixers had averaged 84.5 points through two games.

SIXERS TRADE

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Sixers for Jerami Grant. The Sixers also go a protected draft pick while the Thunder will get a trade exception, reducing the team’s salary cap. Grant was a second-round pick in 2014. The 6-foot-8 small forward averaged 9.7 points and 4.7 rebounds last season. Ilyasova, a 6-foot-10 power forward from Turkey, has career averages of 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds. He’s a career 36.9 percent 3-point shooter.

BIG MEN BACK TO BACKS

76ers center Jahlil Okafor sat out the first night of back-to-back games to ease his recovery from left knee surgery. Okafor did dress and could have played had the Sixers faced an emergency situation. He will play Wednesday night at Charlotte. The Sixers, however, will hold out Embiid against the Hornets. The Sixers are taking a cautious approach with Embiid following a two-year absence because of a broken right foot.

The Sixers need Okafor and Embiid at full health if they are going to start to turn the corner.

“Our focus is to get the big guys the ball as often as we can and play off them,” Brown said.

UP NEXT

Magic: Host Sacramento on Thursday.

76ers: Play first road game of the season Wednesday at Charlotte.

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