Game Preview: Magic at Sixers

Orlando Magic travel down the road from New Jersey to Philadelphia to take on the Sixers.

Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Wednesday, February 27th , 2008

Records: Orlando- 37-22, 1st place in the Southeast division; Philadelphia- 25-32, fourth place in the Atlantic division. Orlando on the road- 21-11; Philadelphia at home- 15-14

Line: Magic by 2

The Magic play their second road game in as many nights as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers. This is the second and final meeting between the two clubs in Philadelphia, as the Magic won the first meeting in the city of Brotherly Love, 108-106, just three weeks ago, and then defeated the Sixers 115-99 in Orlando on Friday night. The Magic hold a commanding 48-25 lead in the all time series.

Philadelphia is a very athletic team that is led by guard Andre Iguodala who averages 19.4 points per game, and 2.1 steals per game (fifth in the NBA). In the middle, the Sixers have seven footer Samuel Dalembert, who averages a near double double, with 11.4 points per game, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks. Commanding the point is veteran Andre Miller, who averages 16.6 points per game, and leads the team with 6.6 assists. The rest of the Sixers starting lineup is rounded out with youngsters Willie Green and Thaddeus Young, who are role players who average a combined 19.2 ppg., and 6.4 rebounds.

Philadelphia has talent off the bench, as they bring guard Louis Williams, who averages 10.8 ppg. and better than 3 assists in just 22.6 minutes, sharp shooting guard Gordon Giricek, and active forwards Rodney Carney and Reggie Evans. Evans does all the dirty work as he grabs better than 8 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action each night.

Statistically speaking
The 76ers are 26h in the league in points scored (95.0 ppg.), 12th in field goal percentage (45.67%), 23rd in adjusted field goal percentage (48%), 30th in three point shooting (31%), 30th in free throw percentage (70.28%), 19th in field goal percentage allowed (45.66%), 7th in opponents ppg. (95.3), 12th in opponents three point shooting (35%), 5th in steals (8.4/gm.), 19th in turnovers (14.4/gm.), 12th in blocked shots (5.0/gm.), 16th in rebounding (42.1/gm.), and 23rd in assists (20.0/gm.).

Here's how Orlando matches up: 6th scoring (104.0 ppg.), 5th FG % (46.91%), 2nd in adjusted FG% (53%), 8th three point shooting (37%), 23rd FT% (72.58%), 11th FG% allowed (45.08%), 19th opponents scoring (100.4 ppg.), 16th opponents three point shooting (36%), 27th steals (6.3/gm.), 16th turnovers (14.3/gm.), 13th rebounding (42.3/gm.), and 22nd in assists (20.1/gm.).
Best matchup for Philadelphia:
Andre Miller vs. Jameer Nelson- although Nelson has been playing at a high level over the last two weeks, Miller is a very strong point guard that has definite post-up skills. Miller should be able to get into the lane freely and find open shooters if the Magic double-team. Miller scored 25 points and dished out 6 assists in the last meeting between these two teams.

Best matchup for Orlando:
Hedo Turkoglu vs. Andre Iguodala- Turkoglu has three inches of height on Iguodala, and although Andre is normally an adequate defender, Turkoglu gives him troubles. Turk scored 31 points and dished out 7 assists in last Friday's meeting between these two clubs.

Keys to a Magic victory:
1. Get Dwight the ball early. Orlando has an advantage almost every night with Dwight Howard and if they get him started early on, the entire offense tends to flourish.

2. Grab every rebound. If Philadelphia is limited to one shot per possession, it is not very likely that they'll find enough offense to pull out a victory.

3. Limit turnovers. When playing a poor offensive team like Philly, it's even more important to limit their easy opportunities. If the Magic can take care of the ball, their offense should outscore the Sixers.

Final thoughts: Orlando plays their second road game in as many nights, and that doesn't bode well for a team that has defensive lapses like Orlando. Andre Miller will go crazy against Nelson, and Iguodala will hit just enough shots for the Sixers to pull the minor upset.

For our gamblers out there: Take the 76ers with the points, the Magic are due for a letdown.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of MagicIllustrated.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustrated.com. Charlie is also a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.


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