The 8 games we are looking forward to most on Orlando Magic’s schedule

The Orlando Magic will have to hit the ground running and find momentum quickly when the season resumes.(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic will have to hit the ground running and find momentum quickly when the season resumes.(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /
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Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic Nikola Vucevic (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

August 7 — vs. Philadelphia 76ers (6:30 p.m.)

This game and this matchup are stock full of intriguing storylines. The Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers undoubtedly have a long list of similarities and grievances against each other. This was a surprising selection for national TV. But one that does make some sort of sense.

First, a few notes.

The Magic have not had a regular-season TNT game since 2011 when LeBron James dropped 53 points on an unsuspecting Earl Clark. The team has been out of the national spotlight for a long time.

Second, the Magic have precious few wins against teams with winning records — just five. But two of them came against the Philadelphia 76ers. And both were fairly convincing actually.

Orlando rallied in the fourth quarter defeat Philadelphia 112-97 without Joel Embiid on Nov. 13. Then in December, the Magic held off a late scoring binge from Embiid to win 98-97. But the Magic had that game well in hand before Embiid started hitting a barrage of threes.

Orlando actually has a pretty good history against Philadelphia — the two teams split last year’s matchups with the home team winning every game.

Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers /

Philadelphia 76ers

The key to this matchup is how the Magic handle Ben Simmons. Simmons averages only 11.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game in his career against the Magic. Both Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon have done a great job containing Simmons.

Considering what a mess Philadelphia has been and the team’s lack of shooting, this is the exact kind of team the Magic really do well again. They play right into the elements the Magic are typically good at defending.

Of course, the real story and the real reason this game probably got a national TV bid is that this was supposed to be Markelle Fultz’s first regular-season game back in Philadelphia. That reunion with the Philly faithful will have to wait a year.

But this is also a great game to showcase how much Fultz has grown. The 76ers do not have a natural point guard, ceding ball-handling duties to Simmons. Markelle Fultz would have to go up against Josh Richardson, a very good defender.

The 76ers have a ton of length with the big lineups they throw out there. That is the difficulty in facing them.

But Philadelphia has largely underperformed expectations. The 76ers are still sixth in the league in defensive rating and that is the tough nut to crack.

Philadelphia is the wild card in this bubble. Their defense is certainly good enough to give them a chance to win. And if teams are slower to shoot well that plays to their advantage too.

The Magic remain a tough matchup for them. If Orlando needs to steal a win, this is the one the team has to get.

94. 93. Prediction. 95. 38