For a team that draws the ire of the fan base so often (myself included), the Sixers are on a nice little stretch right now. Four-straight wins have the Sixers four games above .500 for the first time since November and there’s a soft January schedule coming up over the next week or two.
The Sixers head to Orlando to face a 7-31 Magic team that’s stuck in the Eastern Conference basement. It should be an easy win, though that term isn’t in this team’s vocabulary.
Ahead of the matchup, here are a few observations and notes from me:
- Tobias Harris revenge game? Harris spent two full seasons and two half-seasons with Orlando from 2013 to 2016. The running joke is that Harris frequently crushes his old teams (there are a good amount of them!), but in 21 games against the Magic in his career, he’s averaging just 16 points with a true shooting percentage of 53.7 percent, below his career rate of 56.3 percent. If there’s a time for Harris to step up, it’ll be in a mostly empty arena on the road where he won’t feel the need to drop f-bombs at Sixers fans who deservedly boo him.
- Who’s the Magic player who has a gigantic first quarter and puts the Sixers in an early hole? I’m thinking Franz Wagner drains a couple of threes as Harris and a few other guys just go through the motions on defense.
- Ignaz Brazdeikis has appeared in 16 games for the Magic this season. He played eight minutes in a single game last year for the Sixers last year. If the Sixers had won the championship in 2021, ol’ Iggy would’ve gotten a ring. I’ll never get over that for the rest of my life.
- Joel Embiid’s numbers since the start of December: 29.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game with a true shooting percentage of 62.4 percent. That’s compared to 28.5 points, 10.9 points and 2.8 assists per night with a true shooting percentage of 63.6 percent during his MVP runner-up season in 2021. The dude is just bonkers. Imagine watching this team consistently without him on the squad. Disgusting to think about!
- I hope Isaiah Joe gets some extended minutes tonight. He doesn’t care if there are two guys in his face, he’s pulling up from deep if he wants to. He went 5 of 8 on threes and dropped 18 points against Houston on Monday. Getting him those reps so that he can be unleashed as an instant offense weapon come the postseason is big.
- The fact that both Markelle Fultz and Michael Carter-Williams are on the Magic’s roster, but neither is playing tonight is a shame for all the material I could’ve used in this preview and on Twitter tonight.