The Philadelphia 76ers successfully passed their second test of the preseason Friday night with a 100-87 win over the Charlotte Hornets, a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score would indicate. After upgrading from a CBA team to an actual NBA team (I think, I’ll double-check on Charlotte), the Sixers will now look to level up again against the Orlando Magic, a team projected to be in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Friday, we got our first look at the new-and-improved Sixers lineup on Joel Embiid rest days, and it was certainly a big upgrade compared to a last-legs Amir Johnson or whatever else Brett Brown was forced to trot out in years past. Al Horford leading the break and finishing off the dish from Ben Simmons was not something the Sixers were getting from their previous backup center options, to put it mildly.
⏮ let's rewind that back. ⏮ pic.twitter.com/Y3d3Eu1vEQ— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) October 12, 2019
Still, it will be good to see Embiid back on the court tonight against Orlando, as he looks to build his conditioning up for the long regular season ahead. It’s always an interesting matchup against Nik Vucevic with his ability to stretch the floor, but it’s uncertain whether Voose will play after suffering a mild ankle sprain earlier in the week. He did fully participate in yesterday’s practice, but it was non-contact.
Of course, the center position is unlikely to be where folks’ main attention is directed. Markelle Fultz has been getting around 20 minutes per game in the preseason and had the NBA Twitterati all aflutter after strong performances against San Antonio and Detroit. His last two games have been less encouraging, though, combining to shoot just 3-of-18 from the field against Atlanta and Boston. I’m sure Sixers fans will have calm, measured reactions about whatever happens with Markelle.
Perplexingly, this evening’s game against Philadelphia’s former first overall pick that they traded away will be the second straight Sixers preseason game not televised locally. Can’t bump that golf and American Ninja Warrior coverage, I guess. NBA League Pass and sketchy streams will be your friend yet again.
Three more exhibition games before the season opener against Boston. Let’s get it.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic (preseason)
When: 6:00 pm ET
Where: Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic