After somehow overcoming John Wall's "improved" jumper and DeMarcus Cousins' "dominant" offensive game for their first pair of back-to-back wins this year, the Sixers will turn their attention the Nikola Vucevic-led Orlando Magic tonight in search of three straight. Another game they should win, and another game they really need if their goal is to remain in touch with playoff contention until Andrew Bynum can get back on the court.
First, a few quick words on the past two games. I had the away feed for both games, during the Washington game, the Wiz announcers couldn't stop gushing about John Wall's reworked jumper and how good it looks. Wall is shooting 8/35 beyond 9 feet. That's 22.9%. I thought the Sixers did a good job in limiting what was a pretty sizable disadvantage up front in both games. The new starting lineup is working pretty well. If Lavoy can show some life off the bench, and Wright gets the minutes on the wing over Wilkins, they should be alright until the All Star break.
Tonight, the Magic might be extremely short handed. Glen Davis is out, Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson are both listed as questionable. If Afflalo and Nelson are out, that probably means Moe Harkless starts at the three with E'Twan Moore at the point, Nicholson at the four and Voose in the middle. That's a borderline D-League lineup, and there isn't a whole lot of help coming off the bench. Voose is having a very strong year, scoring with respectable efficiency and grabbing a ton of boards, but he's a small part of their offense. Redick is their main weapon, and he's shooting the ball well, as usual. The Sixers should avoid putting Turner on Redick, he'll lose him and JJ is the one guy the Sixers can't afford to lose on the perimeter. Hopefully, Harkless didn't watch the tape of Tyreke Evans driving by Turner like his feet were set in concrete the other night.
On the offensive end, putting Voose into the pick-and-roll should be a no-brainer. Redick is a pesky defender, and Harkless has enough size and athleticism, so I don't see a clear advantage for Turner anywhere. Thad should be able to work down low. Orlando fouls quite a bit, so it would be nice if the Sixers could find a way to get to the line (looking at you, Jrue). It'd also be lovely to see Jrue hold the turnovers down tonight. Take care of the ball, take advantage of mismatches and get the win.
Orlando is ranked 24th in OFR, 25th in DFR. They aren't an imposing foe when fully healthy, decimated by injury, this game should be a cake walk. Of course, the Sixers aren't good enough to take any team lightly. The Magic have lost nine games in a row, keep your focus and that number will swell to 10.
The tip is at 7pm. Use this as your game thread. Three in a row doesn't seem so tough, does it?