Sixers vs. Magic, 7 p.m. CSN
LineSixers plus-5 over Magic
Last MeetingOrlando held off the Sixers, 88-82, behind 20 points and 22 rebounds from Dwight Howard. However, the Sixers could pin the loss on a slow start to the second half where the team managed to shoot just 6 for 19. Additionally, none of the Sixers starters scored in double figures with reserves Thad Young, Low Williams and Jodie Meeks combining for 51 points.
RecordsSixers: 31-28 (Second in the Atlantic Division; seventh place in the Eastern Conference).Magic: 35-25 (Third in the Southeast Division; sixth place in the Eastern Conference).
Previous gamesJust when it appeared as if the Sixers righted the proverbial ship with back-to-back wins in New Jersey and Toronto, the team took another step back with a six-point loss at home to the Nets. The Sixers shot just 1 for 10 from beyond the three-point arc and committed 16 turnovers while Kris Humphries and Deron Williams posted double-doubles for the Nets.
Im at a loss, I didnt see that coming, coach Doug Collins said after the loss. We had such a good spirit the last two games.
Orlando beat Cleveland on Sunday night, 100-84, but did so without Dwight Howard, who is expected to be out for the next two weeks with a herniated disc in his back. After the game Magic coach Stan Van Gundy put Howard at 50-50 for the first-round of the playoffs.
With Howard in Sundays game, Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 21 points and nine assists with Sixers-killer Ryan Anderson grabbing 13 rebounds.
Whos hot?Hot is a relative term when it comes to the Sixers lately. However, if any player qualifies as hot, its Thad Young who has 49 points on 22 for 39 shooting with 20 rebounds.
As a result, Collins has decided to throw Young into the starting lineup for Mondays game to help combat the matchup problems presented by Anderson (see story).
The Magic have lost two out of the last three and, like the Sixers, have been looking for someone to take the lead on the floor. Lately that has been Nelson, but as the teams facilitator, the Chester native needs someone to throw the ball to. Big Baby Davis has carried some of the scoring load by averaging 17 points in seven straight games, but he got just six in Sunday nights victory and left the game with a hyperextended knee
Meanwhile, in two games against the Sixers this season, Anderson has scored 41 points and grabbed 22 rebounds while shooting 7 for 14 on three-pointers. In 11 games against the Sixers during his career, Anderson is 26 for 54 from three.
StorylinesWith seven games remaining in the regular season, the Sixers magic number to clinch a playoff spot is five. But with six of those seven to be played on the road and a back-to-back-to-back that takes the Sixers from Orlando to Philadelphia and then to Cleveland on consecutive nights, nothing is a given.
InjuriesDwight Howard (back) is out.
Hedo Turkoglu (facial surgery) is out for three weeks.
Big Baby Davis (knee) is doubtful.
E-mail John Finger at firstname.lastname@example.org.