Magic-76ers Preview

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is running out of ideas to

help solve his team’s offensive woes.

A visit to Philadelphia may not be the answer.

The 76ers have used one of the league’s top defenses to compile

a sterling home record, but they’ll be trying to end a six-game

home losing streak against Orlando when they seek a rare win in the

series Monday night.

The Magic (12-8) scored 100 or more points in eight of their

first 13 games en route to a 10-3 start, but they’ve topped 92 just

once over their last seven contests. They’ve dropped five of those

seven while averaging 81.1 points on 38.8 percent shooting.

Orlando had one of its better recent shooting performances

Sunday at 48.4 percent, but shot a season-low 44.8 percent (13 of

29) from the free-throw line in a 106-85 home loss to Indiana. The

Magic committed 19 turnovers and finished with 24 fewer field-goal

attempts than the Pacers en route to their third consecutive defeat

overall.

With 24 points, All-Star center Dwight Howard was the only

Orlando player to score more than 14.

“We’re in a real tough stretch and guys are playing poorly,” Van

Gundy said. “I don’t know what else we can do. … It’s easy to

find the reasons. The hard part is to make it better. That’s

frustrating to me as a coach.”

What could add to the Magic’s frustration is a matchup with the

76ers, who are allowing 87.0 points per game and 41.8 percent

shooting in their second season under Doug Collins.

Philadelphia (14-6) has held its last two opponents to fewer

than 75 points, most recently in a 95-74 win over Detroit on

Saturday in which the Pistons shot 34.9 percent.

Andre Iguodala had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth

career triple-double and first this season while helping the Sixers

improve to 10-2 at home. Lou Williams scored a team-high 17 points

off the bench for the third straight contest.

“To me, winning is the most important thing,” Iguodala said. “As

long as we are continuing to win, that’s most important. Stats are

nice and I’m happy to get the triple-double, but I’m most pleased

that we got another win.”

Philadelphia hasn’t won often lately against the Magic, dropping

15 of the last 17 matchups. It’s lost 10 of 11 at home in the

series.

The Magic will be trying to avoid matching their longest skid

from last season, but they’ll be playing once again without

starting point guard Jameer Nelson.

The point guard missed Sunday’s game with concussion-like

symptoms after taking a blow to the head and jaw during a 93-67

loss at New Orleans on Friday.

Philadelphia center Spencer Hawes has missed the last seven

games with a strained left Achilles’, while rookie forward Nikola

Vucevic has been sidelined for the last four with a left leg

injury.

Hawes’ absence might make it easier for Howard to continue his

recent success in Philadelphia. He’s averaged 24.0 points and 62.2

percent shooting in his last three games there, recording a

double-double each time.