Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers (Jan. 30, 2023): 3 Things To Watch, Odds and Prediction

Joel Embiid scored 50 points and made it look easy as the Orlando Magic were left staggered by individual brilliance. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid scored 50 points and made it look easy as the Orlando Magic were left staggered by individual brilliance. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic open a four-game road trip with a battle against a streaking Joel Embiid and the surging Philadelphia 76ers. The first of two straight in Philadelphia.

Orlando Magic (19-31) at Philadelphia 76ers (32-16)

Time/TV: 7 p.m./Bally Sports Florida
Line: 76ers by 9
Tickets: $9-$4,957 on StubHub
Season Series: 76ers 107, Magic 99 in Orlando on Nov. 25; 76ers 133, Magic 103 in Orlando on Nov. 27; Tonight in Philadelphia; Feb. 1 in Philadelphia

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OMD Prediction

Joel Embiid made his statement Saturday night in a nationally televised game against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. He dropped 47 points and 18 rebounds in a 126-119 victory over the top team in the Western Conference. The 76ers are surging not only propelling Embiid back into the MVP discussion (it is a packed race right now) but also toward the top of the Eastern Conference.

In other words, this is not the kind of team you want to be facing when you are struggling like the Magic are. After a big win over the Boston Celtics and a solid follow up against the Indiana Pacers, the Orlando Magic were loose with the ball against the Miami Heat and then completely no-showed until the second half in a loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Orlando’s struggles on the road are well chronicled at this point. This Sixers team, even with Embiid listed as QUESTIONABLE with left foot soreness, will be a tough one for the Magic. But it should remain a good test for a young team getting more comfortable with winning.

38. 113. 93. Prediction. 102

3 Keys To Watch


The NBA’s MVP race so far this season has been a loaded one. Nikola Jokic continues to put up superstar numbers in his quest for a third straight trophy. Jayson Tatum has been the stellar leader for the best team in the league. Luka Doncic continues to carry the Dallas Mavericks with ridiculous performances.

And then there is Joel Embiid. The controversial runner up in last year’s MVP race needed a little bit to get going. But he is very much an MVP candidate if not among the frontrunners once again. Embiid is averaging 33.8 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game and 4.2 assists per game this season. He is just an unstoppable offensive force.

Whether he plays Monday night — he is QUESTIONABLE with foot soreness — will have a major impact on this game. Although the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Orlando Magic twice without Embiid in November.

Carter vs. the world

Wendell Carter did not have the best night Saturday against the Chicago Bulls. He gave up 17 points and opponents shot 7 for 13 when he was the closest defender. It was not a good night for a player who is typically pretty solid defensively, against the best centers in the league at that.

For the season, Carter is giving up 48.9 percent shooting, 0.2 percentage points worse than expected. That is down from 45.5 percent and 3.0 percentage points worse than expected last year. Opponents are shooting 59.0 percent within six feet against him this year compared to 53.0 percent last year.

Carter definitely has to pick up his defense. And he will have a tough task against Joel Embiid. But he had some success there last year. Embiid made only 14 of 37 shots against Carter last year for 37 total points. Carter tends to step up against the very best centers in the league.

Markelle Fultz returns

Markelle Fultz has been a truly consequential player for the Orlando Magic this season. He has given the team some needed stability and been a leader to help the team control the pace and put the team in the right spots.

Fultz is having a career season, averaging 12.1 points and 5.6 assists per game. He has picked up his pace now that he is back in the swing of things.

Monday will be a special game though. Fultz will play his first game back in Philadelphia since the trade in winter of 2019. Fultz has given nothing but love back to Philadelphia, but it was a notably rocky time for him. And as any Magic blogger or fan will tell you, the first year after the Magic acquired Fultz brought out some of the worst in Philadelphia fandom.

Next. Orlando Magic's playoff chase will be as tough a task as 2019. dark

Fultz has had special games when he returns home to Washington, D.C. Now we get to see what he has in store for a pair of games in Philadelphia against his old team.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.