Joel Embiid scored over 30 points once again, but after an awful shooting day from the supporting cast, the Sixers suffered a brutal loss to the Wizards. Tonight, the Sixers welcome the Orlando Magic to the Wells Fargo Center in hopes of rebounding from their recent loss on Martin Luther King Day.
This marks the second time this season the two games have played each other. The last time these two teams played, the Sixers needed a late 4th quarter rally to help stave off a potential loss to one of the worst teams in the NBA. Perimeter defense and struggling to rebound was the key reason the game was so close late in the first meeting.
The Sixers must come into this game with the mindset of taking care of business against an inferior team in the Magic. The Sixers will have to do this once again without some key role players with Danny Green(Hip), Shake Milton (Back), and Matisse Thybulle (Shoulder) being out tonight due to injury.
In their first meeting, the Sixers struggled to rebound the basketball, getting outrebounded 47 to 42 with Wendell Carter Jr. notching 10 and Mo Bamba and Terrence Ross eight, respectively. The Magic grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to the Sixers 10, and many of them turned into second-hand points.
This forced a lineup of Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond by the Sixers coaching staff, which steadied the ship and swung the momentum and game into the Sixers’ favor. Although the Sixers lack size at times, the team needs to protect the glass better against this young and athletic team.
Tonight’s game will feature a player for the Sixers who did not play in the last meeting in Tyrese Maxey. Having Maxey back for this game should free up Seth and Korkmaz from point guard duties and give the Sixers another scoring punch. It should also free up others for open shots, which is something the team did not have in the first meeting.
The Sixers continue to have slow starts, seemingly when playing against inferior teams. This is due to most times not defending well on the perimeter. Although the 76ers will be without Thybulle and Danny Green, their primary defenders on the team. The Sixers need to be more locked in defensively than in the past. They cannot have players like Cole Anthony, who scored 26 points, and Franz Wagner, who scored 15 points in their last matchup, with the effort and the energy needing to be there from Tip-Off to the last buzzer sounding.
The Sixers should look to this game as an old-fashioned maintenance day, with Embiid and started not needing to play more than 26minutes. The Magic have a record of 8-37 15th in the Eastern Conference; the Sixers should go into this game ready to take care of business and opposed their will early on this young Magic team.