Philadelphia 76ers @ Orlando Magic


The Orlando Magic, losers of three of their last four games, will try to back on the right track when they host the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night.

The 76ers defeated the Magic in Orlando back on December 18th, winning 97-89. On that day, the Magic were short-handed and could only play three backups, two of them being point guards Chris Duhon and Jason Williams, because the Magic had just completely their major trades. Lou Williams scored 24 points off the bench to lead the 76ers while Dwight Howard had 26 points and 20 rebounds.

The 76ers have won two straight, including an overtime victory over the Charlotte Bobcats in Philadelphia Monday night to improve their record to 17-23. The 76ers are third in the Atlantic division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Magic dropped to 26-15 with their 109-106 loss to the Boston Celtics Monday night. They are currently third in the Southeast division (three games behind the Miami Heat) and fifth in the Eastern Conference (5.5 games behind the Celtics).

The 76ers are 19th in pace (91.3), 21st in offensive rating (105.2) and 14th in defensive rating (105.7).

The game will be shown locally on Sun Sports. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.

Tip off from the the Amway Center is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST.

The Line: Orlando – 9.0 (198.5)


Philadelphia 76ers

Spencer Hawes
Elton Brand
Andre Iguodala
Jodie Meeks
Jrue Holiday

Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard
Brandon Bass
Hedo Turkoglu
Jason Richardson
Jameer Nelson

Andres Nocioni is out indefinitely with a fractured/dislocated middle finger while former Magic big man Tony Battie missed Monday’s game with right rotator cuff tendinitis.

For the Magic, Malik Allen is questionable with a sprained left ankle while Daniel Orton (left knee surgery) and Jason Williams (arthritis in feet) are out indefinitely.

The officials will be Scott Foster, Matt Boland and Brian Forte.

Opponent To Watch: Elton Brand, PF – Brand has had a bit of a career resurrection this season, averaging 14.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and more importantly, playing in 39 of the 76ers’ 40 games. Brand had one of his best games of the season in Philadelphia’s win over Orlando back on December 18th when he scored 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked three shots. He also helped force Brandon Bass into a frustrating game. Bass scored 18 points but shot just 8-of-19 from the field in 34 minutes. Brand has averaged 16.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in 23 games against the Magic.

What To Watch For: Many are worried about the Magic’s latest slide but it needs to be put in perspective – they lost in overtime to the Hornets in New Orleans, by one point at Oklahoma City against the thunder and by three points in the TD Banknorth Garden against the Boston Celtics. Those losses are not cause for concern. Orlando’s defense, however, may be. The Magic have been awful on that end of the floor as of late and need to show improvement if they expect to make any noise in May. The Magic also must do a better job on Jrue Holiday. The second year point guard has given the Magic some trouble despite scoring just five points in their first meeting earlier this season.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).