Magic-76ers Preview

A season that began with so much promise for the Philadelphia
76ers has fallen to its lowest point during their latest losing
streak.

While Andrew Bynum doesn’t appear ready to provide a lift
anytime soon, a home date against the free-falling Orlando Magic
may help the 76ers get back into the win column.

The Magic will try to snap a 10-game road losing streak – their
longest such skid in seven years – on Tuesday night when they visit
Philadelphia in a meeting between teams with five-game losing
streaks.

At 10-6 heading into December and hopeful that Bynum would
return soon, the 76ers were feeling optimistic. Bynum, however, has
yet to play for Philadelphia because of discomfort in both knees,
and while he’s practiced with the team recently, the 7-footer is
still without a timetable for his return.

In the meantime, the 76ers (22-32) fell to a season-worst
10-games under .500 with a 99-93 loss at New York on Sunday.
Philadelphia also dropped four games behind Milwaukee for eighth
place in the Eastern Conference.

“We’ll stretch some pieces of the game together, but we have not
been able to play a complete game,” coach Doug Collins said.

Collins’ club should have its best chance in a while of putting
together a complete effort Tuesday. The 76ers held short-handed
Orlando to season lows in points and field-goal percentage (33.8)
in a 78-61 victory on Feb. 4.

The Magic (15-41) have lost 28 of their last 31 following a
118-94 defeat to Cleveland on Saturday. They’re mired in their
longest road slide since dropping a franchise-worst 16 in a row in
Jan. 27-March 21, 2006.

“We’re trying to play the best that we can and that’s what you
want to do,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Each time you step on the
floor you do your job.”

E’Twaun Moore led the way with 18 points as the Magic were
without injured starters Glen Davis, Jameer Nelson and Arron
Afflalo in the first meeting with Philadelphia. Orlando will be
undermanned again, with only Afflalo – the team’s leading scorer
(16.8 points per game) – expected to play this time around.

Rookie Maurice Harkless may help pick up the slack, having
scored 17.3 per game on 51.1 percent shooting in his last
three.

The Magic, though, have averaged 88.0 points and shot 25.0
percent from 3-point range during their skid. They made just 1 of
12 from beyond the arc in the first meeting with the 76ers.

Philadelphia has experienced its own struggles on the offensive
end, averaging 85.8 points – 6.4 below its season average – over
its last eight games.

With points hard to come by, the 76ers hope Jrue Holiday can
continue his latest hot stretch after he’s scored 51 on 20-of-35
shooting in his last two games.

Evan Turner has averaged 18.5 points but shot 40.3 percent in
his last four contests, while Spencer Hawes – who’s shooting 34.8
percent during the team’s skid – had one of his best performances
with 21 and a season-high 14 rebounds against the Magic.

Philadelphia’s win earlier this month was only its third in the
last 16 meetings, including the first round of the 2009
playoffs.