Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic Matchup Preview
The NBA restart continues as the Philadelphia 76ers (41-27) face the Orlando Magic (32-37) at 6:30 pm. The Magic won their first three games of the NBA restart before losing to their last two to the Pacers and Raptors. The 76ers have gone 2-1 so far in the bubble but looked a bit shaky in their last game against the Wizards. Star point guard Ben Simmons also tweaked his knee in that game and could miss a bit of time for the 76ers. This would be a huge blow for Philadelphia, as Simmons is the team’s facilitator and is often a matchup nightmare for opposing guards. His presence on the floor is not an easy one to replace, and the 76ers will hope to get more production from their starters and their reserves. Orlando also suffered a devastating injury to one of their best players. Forward Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL in the Magic’s 2nd game of the bubble. Isaac was an excellent two-way player whose absence on the floor has already been evident by watching Orlando play. With both teams dealing with injuries to one of their top players and each team fighting for playoff position, this game could be an interesting one to watch.
Time: 4:00 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
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76ers Starting 5
The 76ers are coming off of a 107-98 win over the Washington Wizards. Obviously, that is a team that they should be expected to beat, and getting another win the column should always be a good thing. However, I think that the Sixers have a lot to worry about following this game. The Sixers didn’t look that great against Washington, and the Wizards were in the game to the final whistle. For a team with aspirations of coming out of the Eastern Conference, you shouldn’t be in a close game with a team whose top scorers were Thomas Bryant and Jerome Robinson. The 76ers also have to worry about the looming issue surrounding Ben Simmons’ health. He tweaked his knee a bit in the game against the Wizards, and it was confirmed that he slightly dislocated his knee. The timeline for Simmons’ return is currently unknown, which is not a good sign for the team. If the Sixers have a chance to win the Eastern Conference, they will need Simmons to be healthy and play for them. Not having him also severely decreases their chances of beating the Magic in this game. Although Orlando is also missing Jonathan Isaac, they still have some talented players on offense who could cause some trouble for Philadelphia. Overall, this could be an intriguing game.
Magic Starting 5
The Magic seemed to be looking pretty solid at the beginning of the NBA restart, having won their first three games. However, after Jonathan Isaac went down, this team has begun to struggle. They’ve lost their last two games, with those being against the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors. Although those are two very quality basketball teams, the Magic would’ve liked to win at least one of those games to keep their position in the 7th seed. They have fallen to the 8th seed, and although it is very unlikely that the Wizards crawl back into contention, the Magic still have not clinched a playoff spot. Orlando needs to win a majority of their last four games to ensure themselves the 7th seed. Although the 76ers have a better record and are better on paper, they are currently weakened with the loss of Ben Simmons. The Magic need to rally these last few games and play up to their competition, which I think they have a great chance to do against Philadelphia. Although Philadelphia still has the better starting five, they all haven’t been playing great lately. Al Horford only scored two points against the Wizards in their last game, and other players haven’t looked great as well. This game is a great opportunity for Orlando to get back on track and avoid facing the Bucks in the 1st round of the playoffs.
76ers vs Magic Fantasy Basketball Angle
For the daily fantasy angle for this matchup between the 76ers and Magic, I am once again going to highlight Joel Embiid. Last time I previewed a 76ers game, which was their last game against the Wizards, I predicted that Embiid would have a big game. He went on to have 30 points and 11 rebounds in the Sixers’ win. Against the Magic, Embiid will be matched up against veteran and former All-Star Nikola Vucevic. Although Vucevic is a talented offensive player, the same cannot be said about the man’s defense. I again expect Embiid to have a big game, especially considering the injury to Ben Simmons. The majority of Philadelphia’s offense will run through Embiid, which makes me believe that he could have a big night offensively. If you have Embiid on your fantasy team, I would start him tonight with his matchup against the Magic.
76ers vs Magic Betting Odds
76ers Odds: -180
Magic Odds: +150
The oddsmakers are favoring the 76ers in tonight’s game against the Magic. I would agree with them on this pick, but honestly, I could see this game going either way. I am curious as to how Philadelphia’s offense will operate without Simmons. He has the ball in his hands quite a bit and is the main facilitator for the team, so it will be interesting to see if Philadelphia can run a cohesive offense without Simmons on the floor. As for the Magic, they are fighting for a better position in the playoffs, and I could see them giving the Sixers a challenge. Overall, I expect this to be a closer game than some might think, but the Sixers will still probably come out on top.
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