Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Thaddeus Young got to the rim and scored the game-winning bucket with two seconds remaining, as the Sixers continued their road to an improbable series win with a 96-94 triumph over the Magic in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at the Wachovia Center.
Young took an inbounds pass with 6.9 ticks left along the left sideline and drove baseline. His initial attempt toward the hoop was denied by a sea of arms from Orlando defenders but the sophomore standout cooly pivoted right and laid it in. A desperation heave by the Magic caught all backboard as Philadelphia logged its second thrilling victory of the series.
"They did a good job of denying Andre (Iguodala) the ball and Thad came through," Sixers head coach Tony DiLeo said.
Andre Iguodala scored a playoff career-high 29 points and Andre Miller had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the 76ers, who took a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 scheduled for Sunday in Philadelphia.
"He really wants it," DiLeo said of Iguodala. "He has really matured. We are seeing him grow right before our eyes."
Dwight Howard shrugged off a pedestrian performance in Game 2 with a playoff career-high 36 points to pair with 11 boards and three blocks for Orlando, which despite Howard's foul troubles, evened the best-of-seven set at a game apiece on Wednesday with a 96-87 triumph.
Rafer Alston added 17 points and Rashard Lewis 14 for the Southeast Division champs, who rebounded from a last-second 100-98 loss in Sunday's series opener when Iguodala drained a fadeaway jumper just before the regulation buzzer.
"Dwight was terrific. Rashard came on late. Now we have to get some other guys to step up," Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said.
The 76ers led by as much as 17 in the third quarter but entered the fourth with only an 80-77 edge.
"We kept our poise and kept battling. It shows the maturity of this team," DiLeo said.
Philadelphia gained an 86-81 advantage on Young's jumper a little over three minutes in but Howard had Orlando's first six points of the frame and his slam quickly answered for a single-possession game.
A Lewis three-pointer tied the game at 86 at the halfway point but the 76ers rattled off the next six points with Iguodala's fadeaway deuce allowing for a 92-86 margin.
Howard continued the back-and-forth affair and muscled to the rim for a dunk that was followed by another Lewis triple that brought the Magic within one, 92-91, with 1:45 to play.
Willie Green banked a deuce off the glass on Philly's ensuing trip down the floor and Hedo Turkoglu couldn't get a shot to fall on the other end. Turkoglu was forced to foul Iguodala with 42.3 tick left but he left the door wide open for the Magic by missing both at the line.
Samuel Dalembert got an outstretched palm on Turkoglu's shot on the next series but Howard got the board, was fouled and made 1-of-2 for a 94-92 deficit.
Miller had a chance to make it a two-possession game with a running floater but it came up short off the front of the rim and Howard secured the carom with 6.9 ticks remaining. The newly minted NBA Defensive Player of the Year hit both shots at the stripe to tie the game at 94, leaving the spotlight to Young for the final shot.
"A tough loss. We were badly outplayed for 30 minutes. We were lucky we were in the position we were in," said Van Gundy.
The teams played it close early on and back-to-back buckets from Green and Iguodala gave the hosts a 23-17 edge with 2 1/2 minutes left and Miller closed the Sixers' scoring with consecutive layups for a 27-21 lead after the opening quarter.
Howard exited for a breather after burying a hook shot to cut the lead to 34-27 early in the second and the Sixers proceeded to pound the paint, inducing two quick fouls on reserve center Marcin Gortat.
Howard was forced back in and picked up his second foul less than 30 seconds later as Royal Ivey sank a pair at the line for a 40-29 advantage just past the seven-minute mark.
The Sixers went on to produce their largest lead thus far at a dozen, 43-31, following a Donyell Marshall three-pointer less than a minute later.
The Magic sliced into the lead with three-balls by Turkoglu and Courtney Lee to make it a 48-41 game with 3:24 to go but Philadelphia enjoyed a brief 6-1 spurt and finished out the half on a driving layup by Miller to take a healthy 60-49 lead into the break.
Philadelphia continued its strong play to start the third. Iguodala opened the scoring with a three-ball and Green followed with a jumper for a 16-point lead.
Moments later Miller dropped through a long distance shot and Green again followed up with a deuce, extending the lead to 72-55.
However, Orlando put together its first strong stretch that reminded why they are the higher seed in this matchup, quickly pulling within two behind a 17-3 run with 2 1/2 minutes to go.
Howard started the surge with four free throws and added a layup later while Mickael Pietrus closed things out with a pair of makes from beyond the arc for a sudden 76-74 margin before heading to the fourth down three, 80-77.
Game Notes: Green had 12 points for Philadelphia...Turkoglu scored 11 with six rebounds and four assists but was just 2-of-12 from the field....The Magic shot 42.5 percent as a team and hit 24-of-29 free throws...The 76ers were 52.1 percent from the floor and sank just 18-of-26 from the charity stripe...The Magic tied Cleveland and Boston for the second-best road record in the NBA this season at 27-14, just two games behind the LA Lakers. The Magic also won both of their regular season meetings in Philadelphia and actually played better on the road than Philly did at home (24-17).