Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic Preview and Pick

Philadelphia 76’ers +5 (2-3) at Orlando Magic -5 (2-2) O/U 192 8 PM ET Thursday November 6, 2008 on TNT
By Jason Green at

Tonight the 76ers travel to the Sunshine State to play the Orlando Magic. The Magic look to go above .500 tonight while the 76’ers look to even their record at 3-3. So far this season the 76’ers are winless on the road (0-2) and the Magic are 2-1 at home.

Basketball bookies are listing the Magic as 5 point favorites with a total around 192. The Magic are posted at -240 as home favorites and the 76’ers are posted at +200 as away dogs.

The 76’ers come into this game after getting smoked by the Miami Heat last night 106-83. The high scorer in that game for the 76’ers, in their embarrassing loss, was Thaddeus Young going for 19 points on 7/14 shooting. Big free agent Elton Brand only had 12 points on 4/10 shooting but did have 12 boards. For the game the 76’ers were throwing up bricks shooting only 27/72 for a paltry FG% of 37.5%. On defense, well let’s just say, they must have left it back in the City of Brotherly Love, as they allowed the Heat to shoot 39/83 for a FG% of 47%. The 76’ers also had 25 turnovers in the game.


The Magic come into this game after beating the Chicago Bulls 96-93 on Monday night. In that game the high scorer for the Magic was Dwight Howard, as he went for 22 points on 9/15 shooting and also had 15 boards. Every starter in that game scored in double figures. For the game the Magic shot 33/80 for a FG% of 41.3%. On defense the Magic allowed the Bulls to shoot 38/86 for a FG% of 44.2%.

Philly is one of the highest scoring teams in the NBA, as they rank 5th in scoring (103.3 ppg) while the Magic rank 13th (96. ppg). In looking at their offensive stats you would wonder why the Magic are the team with the winning record. The 76’ers are a hot shooting team with a field goal percentage of 48.35% while the Magic have a FG% of 43.67. The Magic are not a good free throw shooting team (68.7%), but that is because even though Dwight Howard has taken the torch from Shaq as the league’s dominating center, he has also taken Shaq’s FT shooting stroke with a FT% of only 47.7%. However, Howard makes up for it with his offense and especially defensive presence, as he leads the NBA in rebounds per game (14.5) and blocks per game (4.5).

The 76ers rank 13th in points allowed (94.8 ppg) and the Magic rank 16th (95.3 ppg). Even with Howard the 76’ers are a much better rebounding team, as they have a +13.5 rebound differential while the Magic are only at +2.3. Both teams are plagued by turnover problems, as the Magic are averaging 16.2 turnovers per game and the 76’ers are even worse averaging 19.2 per game.

This season the 76’ers are 2-2 against the spread and the Magic are 1-3. In terms of Over/Under the 76’ers are 2-2 and the Magic are 2-3.

On the injury front neither team has any players with any significant injuries.

The 76’ers are going to have trouble containing Howard and if the game is close they may try the hack-a-Dwight defense. Ok, so it does not have the same ring as hack-a-Shaq but you get what I mean. For the 76’ers to be successful, Elton Brand will have to have a big game and that will not be easy with Howard down low.

Hedo Turkoglu can open things up if he can start hitting the long ball, but he has only hit 27.8% of his 3 pointers this season. If the Magic can’t bury the outside shot the 76’ers will pack in the lane, which will make it harder for Howard to dominate.

Magic PG Jameer Nelson has to cut down on his turnovers, as he almost has as many TO’s as assists (11 to 14).

The 76’ers Andre Iguodala averaged over 20 ppg last year, but he is cold as ice this year only averaging 10 ppg and his FG% is only 38.8% and has shot only 2/13 from beyond the arc. If his shooting woes continue it will be hard for the 76’ers to win, as Brand can’t do it all.

If the 76’ers do not shoot the ball well tonight and cut down on their turnovers they will be 0-2 in their Sunshine State trip and be 2 games under .500, which is not a good start to the season and especially bad since the Celtics are 4-1 and the Raptors are 3-1 in the Atlantic Conference.

Jason’s Pick: Take the 76ers plus the points.