The Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers gets underway Friday, August 7th, as both teams look to improve their seeding in the Eastern Conference.
Despite winning their first two games in the bubble against the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings, the Magic have dropped two in a row to the Pacers and Raptors. The Magic are currently in the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference with 32 wins and 37 losses. Orlando is still in for the postseason though with an 8 win lead over the Wizards. One more loss by the Wizards or one win by the Orlando Magic will get them into the playoffs. Also, Michael Carter Williams (injured tendon) is expected to be back for playoff games. The #8 seed sees the Bucks in the 1st round, though.
The Magic have been bitten by the injury bug lately. Forward Jonathon Isaac was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee during the game against the Kings. He suffered the tear back in January and was supposed to sit out for the rest of the season. The pandemic pause gave Isaac more time to recover, and he returned to the bubble, albeit not successfully.
Forward Aaron Gordon also suffered from a hamstring injury while playing against the Raptors on Wednesday. He awkwardly fell after a hard foul by Kyle Lowry on a dunk attempt. Gordon, also, will not play against the 76ers on Friday. The Magic have lost two of their starters.
Against the Raptors, the Magic were struggling offensively and could not find a way to score against Toronto’s aggressive defense. Although the Magic got within seven in the second half, Orlando never held the lead. Orlando was swept by the Raptors in the four-game season series and failed to score more than 100 points in any meeting.
The Philadelphia 76ers lost their first game in the bubble against the Pacers as TJ Warren scored 53 points for Indiana. Philly rebounded with wins over the Spurs and Wizards, improving their record to 41-27. The Sixers are currently the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and one game behind the Pacers.
Joel Embiid has been phenomenal after the return of the NBA. Despite the loss against the Pacers, Embiid scored 41 points and grabbed 21 rebounds. He had 27 points and nine rebounds against the Spurs and finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds against the Wizards. Along with Embiid, Tobias Harris has been very consistent with his scoring as well.
Philadelphia’s offense has undergone a few changes with Ben Simmons at the power forward position and Shake Milton bringing the ball up the court. The team chemistry seems to have gotten better since the regular season returned. Simmons had struggled offensively but is now expected to miss the remainder of the season due to a knee injury. He suffered from partial dislocation in his kneecap during the third quarter against the Wizards.
Game Prediction Magic vs Philadelphia
The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to win against the Orlando Magic. Despite losing Simmons, the 76ers will manage to maintain team chemistry with their consistent offense. Embiid has been on fire lately while Milton has been playing well, and veteran Al Horford gives the team veteran savvy.
The only hope for the Magic is their center, Nikola Vucevic. While averaging 19.5 points and 10.9 rebounds, he has been the only player with consistent 20-point games and contributes well to their offense and defense. Evan Fournier has been cold in the NBA bubble so far, and the single decent bench player they have is Terrence Ross.
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