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.