The Orlando Magic will try to make it three straight victories when they host the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night. Philadelphia is also trying to win their third straight game. The Magic enter the game with a record of 18-11 while the 76ers are 20-9.
These two teams met on January 30 and Philadelphia rode a suffocating defense to a 74-69 victory. Andre Iguodala had 14 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while Ryan Anderson, who scored 14 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, was Orlando’s lone bright spot.
The Magic rank 14th in offensive rating (103.3), 12th in defensive rating (101.3) and play at the league’s sixth-slowest pace (89.3). The 76ers are seventh in offensive rating (106.3), first in defensive rating (96.2) and play at the eighth-slowest pace (89.6).
Tip-off from the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST and will be shown locally on Sun Sports.
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5 and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Tom Washington, Karl Lane and James Williams.
The Line: Orlando – 2.5 (178.5u)
The Magic met the 76ers during their offensive funk and the 76ers made the pay, embarrassing the Magic. The 74-69 final score doesn’t indicate just how bad the Magic were – they scored 27 points in the fourth quarter, with most of them coming in garbage time. Orlando shot 33.3% from the field and turned the ball over 15 times. The Magic, however, have been much better lately on the offensive end thanks largely impart to the improved play of their starting back court, Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson.
Philadelphia gets a lot of scoring from their guards, including Lou Williams, the team’s sixth man, who averages a team-high 15.9 points per game off of the bench. Jrue Holiday is Philadelphia’s second-leading scorer at 14.1 ppg. That’s a scary thought for an Orlando team that has struggled at the position. Lately, things have been different. The Magic are getting much better play out of Nelson since he returned from his concussion.
Starting Center Spencer Hawes got off to a great start, but went down with a back injury and has missed the last 14 games. He is apparently close to returning. Tony Battie did an admirable job on Howard but he has not played in six games and shouldn’t be counted to be able to frustrate Dwight Howard again. That leaves Nikola Vucevic, who’s played well as the only center, so it will be up to him and Philadelphia’s power forwards to slow down the big man. Howard, who has had two poor offensive games in a row, needs to take advantage. 6’9 Lavoy Allen, a rookie out of Temple, has been starting in the middle for the 76ers.
Hedo Turkoglu has put together two straight games, but it’s going to be hard to make it three because he’ll be matched up with one of the league’s best defenders in Andre Iguodala. Iguodala, who was named an All-Star last week, is averaging 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Tags: Andre Iguodala Chris Duhon Doug Collins Dwight Howard Elton Brand Glen Davis Hedo Turkoglu J.j. Redick Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson Jodie Meeks Jrue Holiday Larry Hughes Lou Williams Orlando Magic Otis Smith Philadelphia 76ers Quentin Richardson Ryan Anderson Spencer Hawes Stan Van Gundy Thaddeus Young Tony Battie Von Wafer