Philadelphia 76ers vs Orlando Magic: Lineups, preview & prediction 3/22/18
Currently the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers seek a fifth straight win Thursday night when they face the Orlando Magic.
Philadelphia (40-30) took full advantage of a soft three-game home stand, posting victories over Brooklyn, Charlotte and Memphis. The 76ers completed their sweep Wednesday night with a 119-105 victory over the Grizzlies, overwhelming them with a 41-point third quarter as all five starters finished between 13 and 15 points and got to watch the fourth quarter from the comfort of the bench.
Rookie Ben Simmons totaled 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while Dario Saric, Robert Covington and J. J. Redick were a combined nine for 16 from 3-point range. Philadelphia have won four straight and 15 of 20 overall, and their next victory will ensure them of their first non-losing season since going 35-31 in the lockout-shortened 2011/12 campaign.
Orlando (21-50) reached the 50-loss mark for the fifth time in six seasons after being stifled in the fourth quarter of their 93-86 loss at home to Toronto on Tuesday night. Aaron Gordon had 16 points and six rebounds in his return after sitting out five games with post-concussion symptoms, but the Magic were held without a basket for the first 7:30 of the fourth quarter as they squandered an eight-point lead and finished the final period with ten points.
While the Magic have lost back-to-back games and seven of their last eight overall, they can take solace in a defense that has limited the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, albeit missing key players, to 185 combined points. Orlando’s overall mark of 109.1 points per game allowed ranks 24th in the NBA.