The Sixers (6-9) get back to action Wednesday night on the road against the Orlando Magic (5-9), who snapped a four-game skid with a win on Tuesday.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (TCN) at Amway Center.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:
1. Hey, rookie
Michael Carter-Williams will take the floor on Wednesday coming off his best game as a pro, and a former college rival will be trying to prevent the point guard from a repeat performance.
Carter-Williams had 29 points, seven steals, six rebounds and three assists in the Sixers’ loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night. He helped carry the shorthanded Sixers in a tight matchup against the Eastern Conference’s top team.
MCW will square off against fellow rookie Victor Oladipo, the draft’s second overall selection, on Wednesday night. Oladipo got the best of Carter-Williams the last time the two guards squared off on the court. He scored 24 points to MCW’s 11, including the game-winning basket in a 90-89 Magic win during the Orlando Pro Summer League.
Carter-Williams can always lean on the fact that his Syracuse squad eliminated Oladipo’s Indiana team from last year’s NCAA tournament, with the 11th pick in April’s draft scoring 24 points of his own in the victory.
Carter-Williams has also had the upper hand so far in the NBA. He is averaging 17.3 points, 7.4 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 steals for the Sixers.
On the other hand, Oladipo is averaging 12.7 points and holds the league’s third-worst turnover mark with 4.1. However, he has scored at least 17 points in three of four games since joining Orlando’s starting lineup.
The pair of rookies should create quite a matchup on the perimeter in this one.
2. You look familiar
While the Sixers will be getting their first regular-season look at Oladipo, they’ve seen plenty of what Nikola Vucevic can do on the court.
The former Sixer has thrived in Orlando since being traded to the Magic as a part of the Andrew Bynum deal. Since being dealt, Vucevic is averaging 13.9 points and 11.4 rebounds a game. Vucevic’s 11.0 rebounds per game this season rank fifth in the league.
In three previous games against the Sixers, Vucevic has averaged 11.7 points and 16.7 rebounds.
The Sixers must hope Spencer Hawes is back in the lineup to help the league’s fifth-ranked rebounding team combat Vucevic on the boards.
Of course, Vucevic isn’t the only familiar face on the Magic roster. Swingman Maurice Harkless was also drafted by the Sixers before being shipped away in the Bynum deal, and St. Joe’s product Jameer Nelson is in his 10th season at point guard for Orlando.
3. This could get ugly
With the Sixers leading the league in pace (102.4 possessions per game) and the Magic at 10th (98.9 possessions per game), this game will likely be played at warp speed.
That also sets the stage for a potentially sloppy encounter. Both teams are tied for 26th in the NBA with 17.8 turnovers per game.
The Sixers have a whopping 60 turnovers in their last three games.
Tony Wroten (back) is expected to return for the Sixers on Wednesday after missing Saturday’s game (see story). Hawes (knee), who also missed the loss to the Pacers, could be available against the Magic. He is officially day-to-day.
Thaddeus Young (personal reasons) has missed the Sixers’ last three games.
Nerlens Noel (knee), Arnett Moultrie (ankle) and Jason Richardson (knee) are all out.
Orlando’s Tobias Harris (ankle) and Kyle O’Quinn (ankle) are day-to-day.
5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost 20 of the last 24 to the Magic, including 10 of 11 in Orlando.
• The Magic had lost 17 straight on the road before beating Atlanta on Tuesday night.
• Orlando has lost three straight home games.
• Carter-Williams leads all rookies with four double-doubles.
• Evan Turner has averaged just 7.1 points over his career against the Magic.