The Orlando Magic visit the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time since Game 6 of last season's Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, where the Magic ended the Sixers' season with a 25-point win despite missing center Dwight Howard, whom the NBA suspended for his elbow to the head of Samuel Dalembert in Game 5. These two teams met in Orlando on opening night but haven't played each other since. The Sixers have taken a significant step backward this season due to their disappointing regression on defense. Though just 14th in efficiency last year, Philly presented a challenge to teams due to its incredible ability to force turnovers, while simultaneously not committing many fouls. Both factors have changed for the worse this year, and the offense has dropped off as well, by a whopping 2.3 points per 100 possessions. The situation is so bad that Sixers fans are dreaming of the draft lottery and the chance they might land the top overall pick so they can select John Wall. It's hard to believe that this is the same team that held a 2-1 series lead against the Magic last season.
|2009/2010 NBA Season|
|March 1st, 2010|
|Fox Sports Florida / NBA TV|
|Jameer Nelson||PG||Jrue Holiday|
|Vince Carter||SG||Louis Williams|
|Matt Barnes||SF||Andre Iguodala|
|Rashard Lewis||PF||Jason Smith|
|Dwight Howard||C||Samuel Dalembert|
|October 28th: Magic 120, 76ers 106|
Power forward Elton Brand, whose role has diminished this season, is a game-time decision with a strained calf, which Brian of Depressed Fan hopes he'll decide to rest. Allen Iverson is out indefinitely to attend to his sick daughter. It'll be up to Andre Iguodala, Louis Williams, and Marreese Speights to generate enough offense to beat the Magic. They're certainly capable, especially with Orlando in the second half of a back-to-back, but it's not likely.
The Magic must continue to run their offense through Howard in the post. If he gets in foul trouble, they can turn to Rashard Lewis down there, or have Vince Carter run the high pick-and-roll. Iguodala's an ace defender and will give Carter some trouble, though. He has to be especially careful with his shot selection today.