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Magic vs. Sixers GameThread

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Simmons, Redick return to Orlando to take on the Magic Thursday night

NBA: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers come into Thursday’s game at the Amway Center against the Orlando Magic red hot.

The Sixers, winners of their last four games, are two wins shy of securing their first winning season in over a decade. Philadelphia played at home last night, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 119-105.

The Sixers offense has been orchestrated all season by Simmons, a 6-10 rookie point guard who poses a match-up nightmare for opposing teams.

“You obviously don’t want a huge diet of your (small) point guard guarding Ben Simmons,” Coach Frank Vogel said. “But then you have Belinelli and Redick coming off screens, with their shot making ability, and it makes things really tough. You have to pick your poison.”

Simmons, who played three years in High School at Montverde Academy in Central Florida, has recorded three triple-doubles in his last five games (he has nine on the season) and is averaging 13.6 points, 10.5 assists, and 8.5 rebounds in the month of March (Sixers are 8-3).

This has of course been a breakout year for All-Star center Joel Embiid as well. Embiid will be playing in his 60th game tonight, another milestone in his young and promising career. Embiid is averaging 23.5 points and 11.2 rebounds this season.

For the Magic, Vogel will be shorthanded once again against the Sixers. Jonathon Simmons is out for the second straight game with a bruised right wrist, and somewhat surprisingly, Jonathan Isaac will miss tonight’s game with a left foot strain.

Coach Vogel announced in his pre-game conference that rookie Wes Iwundu would get the start tonight in place of Jonathon Simmons.

“He’s in there (Iwundu) because he’s played well. I thought about starting him last game, but like any veteran coach would be, I was a bit apprehensive about starting two rookies.”

Evan Fournier, who has been out since March 7th, will also miss tonight’s game (knee). And Terrence Ross, who has been seen doing some light shooting at practice lately, is still out (knee).

Tonight will also mark the return to Amway for former Magic fan favorite J.J. Redick, who is averaging a career best 16.6 points per game while shooting over 41% on his three-point attempts.

Join the pre-game and in-game discussion below. Enjoy!

WHO: Philadelphia 76ers (40-30, won 4 in a row) vs. Orlando Magic (21-50, lost 2 in a row)
WHERE: Amway Center
WHEN: March 22nd, 7:00 PM
TV: Fox Sports Florida

Starters:
PHI - Simmons, Redick, Covington, Saric, and Embiid
ORL - Augustin, Iwundu, Hezonja, Gordon, and Vucevic.

BY THE NUMBERS:
PHI - Pace: 98.9 (6th), ORtg: 108.8 (14th), DRtg: 106.1 (5th)
ORL - Pace: 98.1 (10th), ORtg: 106.1 (25th), DRtg: 110.9 (25th)