Big Men Prepared to Battle in Orlando

by Lauren Rosen

Scene Setter:

The 76ers (47-26) will seek a quick rebound Monday, when they visit the Orlando Magic (35-38) after Saturday’s tough 129-127 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Falling to Atlanta ended the Sixers’ six-game winning streak, which included statement victories over the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and Indiana Pacers.

With the playoffs fast approaching, the Sixers have nine regular season games remaining to try to maximize their seeding.

“We’re trying to hold onto that third spot,” Brett Brown said. “It’s rebounding from a loss, it’s recognizing the environment you’re going into.”

The Magic are currently ninth in the East, one game behind the eighth-seed Miami Heat. Orlando has proven pesky all season for the Sixers, with each of the three contests between the teams coming down to the wire.

The Sixers lead the season series 2-1, most recently topping the Magic on Mar. 5 in South Philadelphia, 114-106. JJ Redick hit six 3-pointers in that matchup, leading his team with 26 points.

Tobias Harris posted a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double in that last outing. In just over six weeks as a Sixer, Harris has scored in double figures in every game.

Joel Embiid has shone in his six games since returning from injury, averaging 29.2 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks.  

“[Embiid] has very few holes in his game,” Redick said. “He’s one of the best players in the world.”

Magic big man Nikola Vucevic’s first All-Star season has included 23.0 points, 12.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game against the Sixers.

Opponent Outlook:

The Magic have won four straight, the longest active streak in the Eastern Conference. Orlando came from behind Friday to top the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime, 123-119. Terrence Ross scored 31 points in the contest, while Evan Fournier added 27 as the team overcame a 17-point second half deficit.

Follow Along:

Audio: 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network

Video: NBC Sports Philadelphia / NBC Sports MyTeams app / NBA TV

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