Game Preview: Sixers vs Magic
The 76ers tip off a new week following two huge wins during last week’s NBA Rivalry Week. The Sixers at 32-16 take the floor tonight, tied for second place in the East standings. Two and a half games behind the Boston Celtics for the top spot. They are riding a league-best seven-game winning streak. Philadelphia is now 19-7 at home after an outstanding win over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Saturday, 126-119. The Magic come to town for this two-game series 12 games under .500 and 6-18 on the road.
Orlando hosted Philadelphia in late November for a two-game series in Florida, with the Sixers coming out on top in both. 107-99 on Friday the 25th and a 133-103 blowout on Sunday the 27th. No Joel Embiid, James Harden or Tyrese Maxey for the two games. But they didn’t miss them much as it was a total team effort once again leading to the victories. Five players in double-figures in game one. Six hit double-digits in game two led by Shake Milton’s combined 53 points, 14 rebounds, 17 assists, and just five total turnovers over the weekend. Milton missed a triple-double by one rebound during the Friday night win.
On Saturday here in Philadelphia, Embiid put on another spectacular show en route to a seven-point win over the Nuggets. The big fella scored a game-high 47. He did so from all areas of the floor in a highly anticipated matchup against his Western Conference counterpart, Nikola Jokic. Embiid was spectacular! Midrange jumpers, finishing layups in close, reverse dunks, and timely three-pointers (four to be exact) as he got the best of Jokic and his team. The five-time All-Star also collected a game-best 18 rebounds, dropped off five assists, and not forgetting about the defensive end of the floor with two blocked shots and three steals. Another otherworldly game added to the long list of dominant games by Embiid.
Magic have lost their last two games. On Saturday, Mo Wagner came off the bench to pace Orlando with 27 points in the loss, while his talented younger brother was only able to score seven in his usual starting role. Reserve guard Cole Anthony added 21 with Wendell Carter Jr and Jalen Suggs contributing 11 points each. These were the only Magic players to hit double-figures. The Magic have lost the last 10 games including nine straight in Philadelphia. The Sixers took all four matchups during the 2021-22 campaign. December 27, 2019, was the last victory over Philadelphia for Orlando.
- Embiid vs Wendell Carter Jr
- Embiid is coming off a monster game and an emotional week. He can’t let up against the Magic bigs led by Carter Jr. While Embiid has the advantage over any of the Orlando centers, Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba have had success against him. Letting your guard down with this frontcourt is not an option.
- Tobias Harris / P.J. Tucker vs Paolo Banchero / Franz Wagner
- This will be a fun matchup to watch over the course of this short series. The smart veterans versus the ultra-talented young bucks. The combination of Harris and Tucker know how to use their experience against young players. Slowing them down won’t be easy but they’ll make them work for theirs. It won’t be an easy night for the young guys facing off against the Sixers forwards. Harris averages 24 points per game in the two wins over this team in November.