Game Day 72 sees the Magic end the season in Philly tonight as they take on the 76ers again. Orlando are still in a fight for lottery odds, whilst the Sixers have secured the top seed in the East and so can rest.
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The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12 midnight here in the UK (7:00pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP AS THE MAGIC END THE SEASON IN PHILLY
These teams played each other on Friday night in Philadelphia.
The Sixers played a full strength roster as they beat the Magic by 97-122. The game saw the 76ers lead by 23 at the end of the first half. In truth it was a comfortable win for Philadelphia as they outscored Orlando by 20 points in the second quarter. The Sixers were led in scoring by Seth Curry with 20 points. Rebounding for Philadelphia was led by Joel Embiid with 11 , to with 13 points for a double-double. In assists the Sixers were led by Ben Simmons with 9. The Sixers were able to sit their star players for long periods as they tied up the top seed in the East.
The Magic never looked like competing after what was a strong first quarter. Only 1 Orlando starter made double figure scoring, being Cole Anthony with 11 points. It was the bench who carried the Magic. RJ Hampton had another double figure scoring game as he just missed a triple-double with 12 points, 9 assists and 11 rebounds. Ignas Brazdeikis led the team in scoring with a career high 21 points. He also added 6 rebounds, an assist and 2 blocks.. Chasson Randle recorded 12 points and Mo Bamba returned to the line up with 11 points.
The Sixers have won 28 of 35 games at home this season. Orlando have won 10 of 35 games on the road. Season records see Orlando at 21-50, whilst Philadelphia are 48-23. Across the last 10 games that each team has played Philadelphia hold a 8-2 record and Orlando are at 3-7. The Sixers have won their last game and Orlando have lost the last 6.
Results see Philadelphia 1st and Orlando 14th in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers come into the game as the NBA’s 13th ranked offensive team, scoring on average 113 points per game. Orlando are 29th with an average of 103.8 points per game, only Cleveland rate below the Magic.
Philadelphia have a defensive rating at 2nd and sees them conceding 107.9 points per game. Orlando are 26th and concede 113.1 points per game.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
All stats are irrelevant tonight as this could be a very different Philadelphia team. What will not change is the desire to win that Coach Doc Rivers will want from his squad as they prepare for an as yet unknown opponent in the playoffs.
They are happy to play at pace, adept at getting fast break points. They tend to be a patient team when the star starting unit is on court, happy to use the shot clock to build a possession. The bench unit tends to play at a greater pace. They score in well excess of half of their points per game as two point shots and the vast majority comes from inside the paint (around 42%). Whilst less than 30% of their points per game come from beyond the arc they are relatively accurate with the long ball, choosing quality over quantity. They shoot 47.6% from the field and 37.2% with the 3 ball. Assists per game are relatively low at 23.5 per game, reflecting their ability to create individual opportunities.
They get to the line a lot, particularly Joel Embiid. Philadelphia shoot 25,5 free throws per game and make 19.6 of them. This 76.8% efficiency sees a joint league leading 17.3% of their points per game come from the line (level with Washington and Atlanta).
They block shots at a rate that is second best in the league at 6.2 times per game, whilst for steals they lead the league with 9.1 per game. They do turn the ball over at higher rate and the turnover rate results in a 29th worst NBA rate of 14.3 fast break points per game conceded. On average they foul 20.1 times per game which results in 22.5 free throws faced per game.
They do a good job on the glass, rebounding well on both ends of the court, being 6th in total rebounds.
THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS SQUAD
Coach Doc Rivers used a starting line-up last time of Ben Simmons (14.3 PPG), Seth Curry (12.5 PPG), Danny Green (9.5 PPG), Tobias Harris (19.5 PPG) and Joel Embiid (28.5 PPG).
From the bench came Shake Milton (12.9 PPG), Furkan Korkmuz (9.2 PPG), Tyrese Maxey (7.6 PPG), George Hill (8.5 PPG) Isaiah Joe (3.4 PPG) Mike Scott (4.2 PPG), Paul Reed (2.8 PPG), Anthony Tolliver (0.8 PPG) and former Magic forward Gary Clark (3.1 PPG).
The squad also features Matisse Thybulle (3.9 PPG), Rayjon Tucker (1.8 PPG) and former Magic star Dwight Howard (7 PPG), Howard was suspended for the last game but can feature tonight.
THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS ARE THROWING A SICKY
According to ESPN as I write the Sixers have gone from only one injury concern to half the team including most of their star players. Anyone would think they want to avoid playing them in a meaningless fixture before the post season begins!
Matisse Thybulle (3.9 PPG) is questionable with a hand injury.
Shake Milton is probable with a knee injury.
Furkan Korkmuz is probable with an ankle injury.
Danny Green is questionable with a hip issue.
Seth Curry is questionable as he is being rested.
Ben Simmons is questionable with back stiffness.
Joel Embiid is probable with an illness.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD – THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
The Magic lead the all time head-to-head regular season matchup by 79-41 in 120 games played.
The teams have met twice this season on Game Day 5 on New Years Eve when the Magic lost at home by 116-92. The Sixers won on Game Day 71 by 97-122 in Philadelphia.
Last season the Magic won the three game series 2-1, both wins being in the Amway. The loss came during the restart seeding games in the Walt Disney World bubble on August 7th.
In the playoffs it is 5-5, Philly taking the 1999 series 3-1, Orlando the 2009 series 4-2. Both series were first round match ups.
THE ORLANDO INJURY REPORT AS THE MAGIC END THE SEASON IN PHILLY
As I write the injury report on ESPN is increased and reads:
RJ Hampton (6.8 PPG) is listed as day-to-day but questionable with a sprained right ankle.
Wendell Carter Jr (11.4 PPG) is listed as day-to-day but questionable with an eye issue.
Chuma Okeke (7.8 PPG) is out with an ankle injury.
Terrence Ross (15.6 PPG) is out with back spasms.
James Ennis III (8.4 PPG) is out with a calf injury.
Otto Porter Jr (9.7 PPG) is out with a foot injury.
Michael Carter-Williams (8.8 PPG) is out with an ankle injury.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) is out recovering from a torn ACL.
Jonathan Isaac is out recovering from a torn ACL.
THE ORLANDO LINE-UP AS THE MAGIC END THE SEASON IN PHILLY
Orlando have used 32 starting units this season, the most in the team’s history. With 28 players having featured on the squad in the season that is another franchise record.
The Magic starting unit used by Coach Clifford against Philadelphia was Dwayne Bacon (11 PPG), Moritz Wagner (6.7 PPG), Cole Anthony (12.3 PPG), Gary Harris (10 PPG) and Wendell Carter Jr (11.2 PPG).
From the bench came RJ Hampton (6.9 PPG), Ignas Brazdeikis (6.8 PPG), Sindarius Thornwell (1.7 PPG), Donta Hall (4.9 PPG), Mo Bamba (8 PPG) and Chasson Randle (6.4 PPG).
RECORD FOR LEAST AND LARGEST ON THE SEASON
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 46 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 75 – GAME DAY 63 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 137 – GAME DAY 49 UTAH JAZZ
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
KEYS TO THE GAMES AS THE MAGIC END THE SEASON IN PHILLY
Tonight as the Magic end the season in Philly is not a game any Magic fan wants to see the team win. To do so could hurt the team’s lottery prospects. It would be a pointless victory. To lose tonight means Orlando can finish no worse than tied with OKC for the third worst record. With only 7 fit players and two questionable it is likely again that the Magic will be making do in many positions.
Philadelphia may sit players as their injury list suggests. To avoid any sanction from the NBA it is most likely several will be on the bench or start but play very limited minutes.
Being realistic Orlando concede as many points per game as they Sixers score per game. We saw on Friday night the Sixers have depth. The bench unit did much of the damage to the Magic during the second quarter. There will be players in that unit who want to show Coach Rivers what they have.
On defence Philadelphia boast impressive numbers in blocks and steals. Live ball turnovers for Orlando will result in scores and can allow the Sixers to get a lead quickly.
If Joel Embiid is not present Philly will remain a strong rebounding team. Dwight Howard is 17th in the NBA for rebounds per game and 13th in total rebounds taken.
THE LOTTERY RACE
As the Magic end the season in Philly defeat is the wish of most Orlando fans.
The table reads:
23rd – Chicago – 30-41
24th – Toronto – 27-44
25th – Cleveland – 22-49
26th – Minnesota – 22-49
27th – Orlando – 21-50
28th – OKC – 21-50
29th – Detroit – 20-51
30th – Houston – 17-54
The odds are explained here on Tankathon.
In the lottery race Orlando are tied in the 3rd position for the lottery first round, meaning a 13.2% chance of the number 1 pick. The pick is also guaranteed to be a top 8 pick. Picks 1 through 4 are assigned by the drawing of ping pong balls, 5 through 14 are by record. Tied teams split their ping pong balls evenly.
The pick owed by Chicago from the Vucevic trade currently sits at 8th. This is a top 4 protected pick meaning Chicago keep the pick if it is drawn at 1 through 4. Odds see it likely to be at 8 or 9 in the draft.
Finishing with the worst record does not guarantee the best pick. The lottery has numerous examples of teams outside the top odds moving up the draft order. Fancy a go on a lottery simulation to see how it works? Then just click on the link and hit the SIM LOTTERY button.
SCENARIOS AS THE MAGIC END THE SEASON IN PHILLY
Every team plays tonight.
The Cavs are in Brooklyn. Brooklyn will likely want a win as a loss could see them drop third in the east and potentially play Miami. If the Cavs lose and Orlando win our records are tied.
Miami are in Detroit. With a win Miami can tie their record to both the Knicks and Hawks if both those teams lose. That could result in an easier first round opponent and potentially home court advantage.
The Timberwolves are at home to Dallas. Dallas need to win to secure the 5th seed as a Portland win would see them drop to 6th.
And to the most interesting possibility of the night. The LA Clippers are in Oklahoma. Do the Clippers want to win is a question many are asking? Denver and the Clippers are level at 47-24 records, with Denver third and LA fourth. At present the Clippers would face Dallas. Many feel this to be a more favourable matchup than playing Portland who likely await the third seed in the West. It also all but guarantees the Clippers would avoid the Lakers until the West Finals. The Clippers sat virtually every member of their rotation in the defeat to Houston last time out. If OKC lose they can finish no worse than tied with the third worse record with Orlando.
It is an intriguing night of basketball as can be seen here on ESPN as they break down what is at stake for every team tonight.