Brown focused on development, not tanking
The Sixers (6-12) will try to snap their four-game losing skid and stay above .500 at home when they face the Orlando Magic (6-11).
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (CSN) at the Wells Fargo Center.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:
1. Keep running
What’s the best way to attack a banged-up team that’s on the second night of a back-to-back set? Run and run some more, of course.
With the Magic coming off a double-digit loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday, look for the Sixers to keep their foot on the gas in Tuesday’s matchup. That shouldn’t be a problem for a Sixers squad that leads the NBA in pace with an average of 102.8 possessions per 48 minutes and is 10th in scoring with 103.0 points a game.
“We’re adamant about playing at that pace,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said after practice on Monday (see story).
2. Neutralize Nik
Ex-Sixer Nikola Vucevic suffered an ankle injury on Monday and his status is uncertain for Tuesday’s tilt. That’s about the only thing that could slow down the big man against his former team.
Vucevic has terrorized the Sixers since being traded away in the Andrew Bynum deal. The seven-footer has averaged 14.0 points and 16.5 rebounds in four games against the Sixers. He had 21 points, 16 rebounds and five assists when the two teams met last week.
The Sixers would be wise to send an extra defender whenever Vucevic gets the ball down on the low block.
3. On the defensive
For a team allowing a league-worst 110.1 points per game, the Sixers should pay extra attention no matter who has the ball.
The Sixers rank near the bottom of the league in a slew of defensive categories. They are 27th in point differential (minus-7.1), 22nd in opponents’ field goal percentage (46.4) and 27th in opponents’ three-point percentage (38.4).
The Sixers know it will take a total team effort to fix their defensive struggles (see story).
Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are all out.
Vucevic’s (ankle) status is unclear for Tuesday’s game. Jameer Nelson (foot) is day to day.
Tobias Harris (ankle) is out for the Magic.
5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost 21 of their last 25 games against the Magic, including three straight.
• The Sixers have allowed a league-high 192 three-pointers this season.
• Michael Carter-Williams (17.0 points per game) and Victor Oladipo (13.2 points per game) rank first and second among rookies in scoring, respectively.