PHILADELPHIA — The game ended minutes earlier, but fans inside the arena congregated around the tunnel leading from the court toward the Orlando Magic locker room.
Jameer Nelson completed a postgame TV interview, walked toward the corridor and paused as people yelled his name, "Jameer! Jaameeeer!" He took off his jersey, rolled it into a ball and threw it into the crowd, setting off a frenzy in the stands.
This win felt good.
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After so many road losses, any win — even one against the horrendous Philadelphia 76ers — would've felt welcome. Orlando beat Philadelphia 101-90 to win on the road for the first time this calendar year and end a 16-game road losing streak.
"It's definitely special," Nelson said. "No matter who you're playing and where you're playing them, you want to win. It's one of the things that you have to learn as a team. You have to do everything right. You're going to have mistakes, but do them hard. We have times in the game where we just don't play hard or we don't get back on defense — things that we can control."
No matter how badly the Magic have played over the last year and a half, no matter how badly they've performed on the road this season — the Magic simply had to beat the Sixers, a team so atrocious that it had lost its 11 previous games by an average of 20.3 points.
"It feels great just to get a road win," forward Tobias Harris said.
Nelson led the way.
The native of nearby Chester, Pa., scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and dished out 12 assists without a turnover.
The Magic needed the boost he provided.
In the first half, Sixers players consistently beat the Magic down the court in transition and scored 20 fastbreak points.
If it hadn't been for the awful shot selection of Philly's Byron Mullens, a 7-footer who inexplicably insisted on shooting one long-range shot after another, the Sixers might have built a double-digit lead before halftime.
Philly still led 44-40 at the half.
"It felt like a bird had pooped on your head," Nelson said.
"It's disgusting because the way we were playing, the way we weren't getting back on defense. We gave up 20 points in the first half on fastbreak points. That's disgusting. Just like a bird pooping on your head."
It wasn't tough to figure out why the poor first half resonated with the Magic (18-42). The Sixers (15-43) have tanked away the season, trading almost all of their best veterans and inserting a few no-name players into their starting lineup.
It didn't matter that the Magic were playing the second game of a back-to-back. It didn't matter that Orlando was missing its injured leading scorer, Arron Afflalo.
The Magic still needed a win.
Victor Oladipo overcame seven turnovers to compile 17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Former Sixer Nik Vucevic added 21 points with 13 rebounds.
"With us losing so many games, especially on the road, it wasn't fun," Vucevic said.
The victory brought implications for the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery.
The Sixers solidified their hold on the second-worst record in the league.
Orlando has the third-worst record, but for how much longer? The stagnating Los Angeles Lakers only have 19 wins.
The lottery is the last thing on Magic players' minds, and for Nelson, the win over the Sixers felt especially good.
He had 60 to 70 family members and friends in the stands.
He culminated the win by throwing his jersey into the crowd.
"It's kind of cool," Nelson said. "You don't grow up thinking that people would want your jersey."
Then again, Nelson didn't grow up thinking a road win over a 15-43 team would feel so good, either.
email@example.com. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.