Sixers vs Magic: How to watch, betting preview & predictions

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Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers guard De’Anthony Melton, center right, shoots as Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Sixers are in Orlando to take on the Magic after a tough Christmas Day loss to the Miami Heat, 119-113.

Sixers vs Magic game info

Who: Philadelphia 76ers (20-90 at Orlando Magic (18-11)
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Kia Center, Orlando Fl.
Watch: NBC Philadelphia, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports Florida

Sixers vs Magic betting info

Spread: Sixers +2 | Magic -2
Moneyline: Sixers +110 | Magic -130
Total: Over/Under 229

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What to look for from the SIxers

With current NBA scoring leader and MVP front-runner, Joel Embiid, set to miss his second straight game with an ankle injury, the Sixers will need more from their remaining players.

Tyrese Maxey was just horrible last time out, shooting 4-20 from the field and 1-8 on his three-point attempts. He’s going to need to find a good groove to start off again the Magic if the Sixers are going to win this game.

Tobias Harris has been playing at a different level over the last three games while Kelly Oubre has looked like he’s finally shaken the rust off from missing time with injury earlier in the season. Mo Bamba and DeAnthony Melton had good games against the Heat, using the revamped lineup without Embiid. The issue for Melton has been shooting. He was 5-17 form the field and 2-9 on his three-point attempts against the Heat. If the Sixers are going to remain near the top of the Eastern Conference, Melton is going to have to improve his shooting on a more consistent basis.

Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey, right, goes up for a shot over Oklahoma CIty Thunder forward Kenrich Williams, left, in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

What to look for from the Magic

The Magic are coming off a victory yesterday over the Washington Wizards. While it may not be much to bathe Wizards, the Magic are competing this year and playing well for such a young team. The Magic are in 4th place in the Eastern Conference just two games behind the Sixers for third place. A win tonight would get them within a game of the Sixers with games agains the Knicks and Suns on the horizon.

The Magic, despite their youth, are having a very good season and they provide a problem for almost any team that they match up with. Their size and athleticism are hard to come by with their starting front court averaging just over 7 feet tall.

The front court of Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner combined for 52 points, 11 rebounds, and 17 assists in the win over the Wizards. They’re both 6’10” and will give the Sixers smaller front court fits. Their center is Wendell Carter Jr. who stands 7’5″ and without Embiid, the Sixers are going to need someone like Mo Bamba to help combat the front court size of the Magic.

After their front court, you still have to deal with Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, and Anthony Black. The team has had some injuries, most notably Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac, but they’ve managed to blend their youth and have been giving teams fits with their size and ball movement.

What to watch for tonight

The Magic are a young and talented team with more size than most rosters and the Sixers will be without Joel Embiid and Nico Batum for the night. This doesn’t look like a game the Sixers can run away with. If they’re to win tonight, they’re going to need Harris, Oubre Jr., and Mo Bamba to really have good games while Tyrese Maxey and DeAnthony Melton will drastically need to improve their shooting. Off the bench, they’ll need to have Pat Beverly and Robert Covington step up their defense in order to contain the Magic.

Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers guard De’Anthony Melton (8) and Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry, right, go for a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

With Embiid and Batum out, combined with the shooting of their starting guards, this doesn’t look like the game most were picturing after Christmas. The key for the Sixers is to get Embiid and Batum healthy and stay that way for the remainder of the season. While they’re playing well an currently in the 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, they’re going to need to work on using their depth and making rotational changes when playing teams like the Magic.

Prediction:

Sixers 121 – Magic 125

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky