Magic-76ers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 03, 2013
Though Philadelphia has struggled with Orlando in recent years, a visit from the reeling Magic might provide the 76ers with a good chance to match their longest winning streak of the season. Hoping to further take advantage of a favorable stretch on their longest homestand of the season, the 76ers look for a third straight victory while trying to send the Magic to their second 10-game skid in less than two months Monday night. With consecutive victories over Washington and Sacramento, Philadelphia (20-26) has a chance to win three straight for the first time since Nov. 25-30. Though their latest victories came against two of the NBA's worst teams, the 76ers continue to build confidence while starting 3-1 on an eight-game homestand. "I think we are in a good place right now and have some momentum," center Spencer Hawes said. "Guys are playing well with one another and we have to keep translating that into wins." Thaddeus Young had 23 points with 15 rebounds, Jrue Holiday scored 21 while overcoming eight turnovers and Nick Young added 20 in Friday's 89-80 win over the Kings. The 76ers held Sacramento to 38.0 percent shooting, including 1 of 10 from 3-point range, but almost a blew a 19-point lead. Philadelphia gave up a 17-point cushion in last Monday's 103-100 loss to Memphis. "We're just coming out with all kinds of energy,'' said Nick Young, who has averaged 18.2 points in five games - the last four as a starter. "When we get up, we've got to keep the lead.'' Strong defensive play has keyed the 76ers' success in the last four games. Aside from the Memphis loss, Philadelphia held New York, Washington and Sacramento to an average of 81.3 points on 37.4 percent shooting. Though Orlando has won three straight versus Philadelphia and averaged 103.0 points while shooting 48.2 percent to win 14 of the last 16 meetings, the current Magic are hardly the caliber of those past clubs that won 25 of 32 in the series. Orlando (14-33) dropped 10 in a row from Dec. 21-Jan. 9, then won two of three before its current slide reached nine games with a 107-98 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday. The Magic have averaged 89.0 points while losing the first four of a five-game trip. While his team tries to avoid losing seven straight road games for the first time since a 16-game skid from Jan. 27-March 21, 2006, coach Jacque Vaughn remains positive. With injured starters Glen Davis (foot), Arron Afflalo (calf) and Jameer Nelson (forearm) day to day, the Magic led by one in the third quarter before allowing a 19-6 run. "This group continues to show themselves," Vaughn said. "The competitive nature from every guy that stepped on the floor was great to see.'' After posting 20 points and 12 rebounds at Milwaukee, Nikola Vucevic has averaged 15.8 with 12.8 boards in the last six games. Rookie Maurice Harkless recorded season highs with 19 points and 14 rebounds in his third straight start. J.J Redick has shot 33.3 percent or worse in three of four games but 51.7 percent while totaling 37 points in the last two against the 76ers. Holiday has averaged 23.8 points and shot 53.0 percent in the last four contests overall but has averaged 9.8 on 39.1 percent shooting in six home games versus Orlando.
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