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

Sixers embiid
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) celebrates as the team pulls ahead of the Miami Heat during the last minute of the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, April 4, 2024, in Miami. The 76ers defeated the Heat 109-105. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

The Philadelphia 76ers are on a six-game winning streak at the end of the season and are home, taking on the Orlando Magic in hopes of gaining some ground on the sixth seed in the Easter Conference.

The team has been on a roll since Joel Embiid has returned, recently saw the return of DeAnthony Melton, and are as healthy as they’ve ever been heading into the playoffs. The Magic have lost their last two games and three of their last five and desperately need a win to secure the higher seeding in the playoffs.

Sixers game information

Who: Orlando Magic (46-34) at Philadelphia 76ers (45-35)

When: 7:00 pm EST

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Watch: NBC Philadelphia, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports South

Sixers vs Magic betting information

Spread: Sixers -7.5 | Magic +7.5
Moneyline: Sixers -1350 | Magic +800
Total: Over/Under 213.5

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Latest on the Sixers

Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, left, dribbles the ball past Detroit Pistons’ Jalen Duren during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Since his return, Joel Embiid has played in four of the five games he’s been available and is right back to his normal self. In just 30 minutes per game, Embiid is averaging 30 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. He’s shooting 51.4% from the floor, 45% on his three-pointers, and 87.5% from the free-throw line. Head Coach Nick Nurse has limited Embiids minutes to start his return but had him up at 36 minutes in their last game, a 120-102 victory over Detroit. Embiid looks as ready as he’s ever been for the playoffs.

In addition to Embiid returning, Buddy Hield seems to be finding his game again. The past two games have shown that he may be heating up just as the playoffs are ready to start. He’s shot 50% on his three-point attempts and avenged 14 points over those last two games. While it’s a small sample, Hield is a streaky shooter who needs to find some comfort in the lineup, and it looks like that may be coming along.

While Tyrese Maxey has been in and out of the lineup the past two weeks, the team will be relying on him to provide that steady presence that he’s been all year, especially during Embiid’s absence. Maxey is averaging 25.9 points on the season, a career-high, and has established himself as the second star that the team has been looking for over the past several seasons.

The big two of Embiid and Maxey are the stars in Philadelphia, but Kelly Oubre Jr. has put his name right up there where Tobias Harris was supposed to be. Over his last ten games Oubre Jr. is averaging 18.7 points and 6 rebounds while shooting a respectable 38% on his three-pointers. Oubre has solidified his spot in the lineup as the playoffs near and may have done enough to see Harris moved to the bench.

Latest on the Magic

Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero is foiled shooting between Milwaukee Bucks’ Brook Lopez and AJ Green during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 10, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The Magic are in Philly hoping that they can get something right and win a game before the regular season ends. They’re coming to town on the heels of losses to the Rockets and Bucks, while they’re trying to sure up their seeding in the Eastern Conference. The Magic have to beat the Sixers and/or the Bucks to end the season and avoid the play-in tournament.

While the team has ascended into the playoff realm after a few years at the very bottom of the Eastern Conference, Paolo Banchero has established himself as an up-and-coming star in the league. This season, Banchero is leading his team with 22.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. He’s shown that he can make crucial shots when the team needs them and has shown a great feel for the professional game at just 21 years old.

In addition to Banchero, the team features young talent such as Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony, and Wendell Carter Jr. with Carter Jr. being the elder statesman of the top players at just 24 years old.

The Magic were looking to improve, and they’ve impressed with their standing and just need some experience to take the next step in the league. They’re too talented but also too young to do anything this season, but with some veteran free agents who can provide some leadership and continued growth of the young core, the Magic are looking to be a playoff team and more in the future.

What to watch for tonight

Embiid Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots in front of Orlando Magic center Goga Bitadze (35) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

This game could mean the difference between the play-in tournament or a first-round series with the Knicks for these two teams. This game is huge for both squads, and the Sixers, with momentum on their side and playing at home, would likely have the edge.

While Embiid, Kyle Lowry, and KJ Martin are listed as questionable for the game, it’s more than likely that they’ll see at least two of them. Lowry, at 38 years old, could probably use the extra rest prior to the playoffs, and with the return of DeAnthony Melton, the Sixers have the players to give him that time.

Tyrese Maxey will be back for tonight’s game, Kelly Oubre Jr. will be looking to show Nick Nurse that there’s no reason for him to come off the bench, Hield will be looking to continue his hot shooting, and Cam Payne should be looking to secure his spot in the playoff rotation. There’s a lot going on for this Sixers team as they close out the season.

Most importantly, The Sixers can show that they can dominate a playoff team like the Magic. With a softer schedule to finish out the year, they’ve not been overly pressed from high-quality competition, and it’s helped them to get to 45 wins despite missing Embiid for two months.

With the return of arguably the most dominant player in the league, the Sixers will be looking to get their timing down and make a statement over this game and the season-ending one against the Nets. That statement is that they’re not to be underestimated as the playoffs start.

Also, Tobias Harris returned and had 15 points and 12 rebounds, which he normally does when no one is watching him play.

Prediction

Sixers 124 – Magic 107