76ers at Magic game preview
Game time: Sunday, 6 pm ET
TV: FOX Sports Florida
The Philadelphia 76ers are already guaranteed to avoid finishing with the worst record in franchise history. However, they’re still inching closer to infamy as their losing streak continues.
The Orlando Magic will again look to capitalize on the woeful 76ers by knocking them off for a second time in five days on Sunday night.
Philadelphia (15-44) is suffering through its longest skid in 17 years, dropping 13 in a row for the first time since Dec. 28, 1996-Jan. 20, 1997. The 76ers’ latest setback was a 122-103 home defeat to Washington on Saturday as they yielded 101-plus points for the 24th time in their last 26 games. They also gave up an arena record 74 first-half points and yielded a career-high 40 to Trevor Ariza.
Over the last 13 contests, Philadelphia is allowing 116.5 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting — including 40.2 percent from 3-point range. Those numbers have crept even higher in four games since Evan Turner was traded to Indiana, reaching 119.3 and 52.3.
Despite those struggles, the 76ers won’t post the worst record in their history, with that distinction belonging to the 1972-73 club that finished 9-73. Philadelphia endured a franchise-worst 20-game losing streak that season.
But with 23 games still remaining, the 76ers could surpass that skid, as well as the league-worst 26-game losing streak by Cleveland in 2010-11.
"All the time," coach Brett Brown said after Saturday’s loss when asked if he wondered if his club would win another game.
Philadelphia helped Orlando end a dubious streak of its own on Wednesday, with the Magic snapping a 16-game road skid in a 101-90 victory. Jameer Nelson tallied 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, leading a balanced effort that saw each Magic starter score at least 13. Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and 13 rebounds to help Orlando grab a 55-42 rebounding advantage. The 76ers were just 5 of 22 from beyond the arc with Thaddeus Young going 0 for 5.
The Magic also claimed a 105-94 home win over Philadelphia on Nov. 27, their 11th victory over the last 12 meetings in Orlando.
Orlando (18-43) hopes hosting Philadelphia will help its defense bounce back after letting Miami shoot 58.1 percent in a 112-98 road loss on Saturday. The Magic limited the 76ers to 36.8 percent shooting three nights earlier.
"Overall we did a decent job," center Kyle O’Quinn, who grabbed a career-best 15 rebounds, told the team’s website. "They’re the two-time champions and that’s the team that you want to model. There’s a reason why they won it, so you want to strive where they are."
Arron Afflalo missed his fourth straight game and it’s unclear if he’ll play Sunday. He had been dealing with a sprained ankle but missed Saturday’s contest due to an illness. He had averaged 25.3 points in the three games prior to being sidelined, and scored a career-high 43 in a 126-125 double-overtime loss to Philadelphia on Dec. 3.
Young is averaging 24.0 points over his last four meetings with the Magic.