Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers game preview
The Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic began the NBA season with many new pieces to their respective puzzles.
They are both still trying to wrestle those pieces into place.
The Magic, who have a new coach in Frank Vogel and two new big men in Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo, bring an 0-3 record into Tuesday night’s game against the Sixers (0-2) in Philadelphia.
As Vogel told the Orlando Sentinel before Saturday’s road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Magic have not been sharing the ball as much as he would like.
"I think our guys are trying," he said. "Their hearts are in the right place. But too many guys are trying to do it themselves and not letting the game come (to them). Playing for each other – we have to do that better or we’re not going to change our fortunes."
While five Orlando players are averaging 10 points a game or more, the Magic are averaging just 92.3 a game while giving up 107.
Ibaka, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Oklahoma City, managed just 18 points in his new team’s first two games but scored 19 against Cleveland. He shoot 7 of 12 from the floor.
"Super encouraging," guard Elfrid Payton told the Sentinel after the game. "With teams trying to go small now, he’s going to be able to punish teams inside. So he’s got to make a conscious effort to go in there. He shoots the ball from mid-range well, and he can knock down a 3. So it’s tough to tell him to stay inside. But when he has smaller guys on him, he can really punish them."
Biyombo, known more for his defense, is averaging 2.5 points and six rebounds a night.
Philadelphia has added center Joel Embiid to the mix this season. The third overall pick in the 2014 draft, Embiid missed his first two seasons as a result of two foot surgeries.
He has averaged 17 points in 19 minutes a game over the Sixers’ first two outings, while on a minutes restriction. He will not play more than 20 a game for the foreseeable future.
Coach Brett Brown also told reporters at practice Monday that Embiid will not travel to the team’s game in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.
Brown added that while Jahlil Okafor will be available against the Magic on Tuesday, his plan is to hold the center out of the game, as he is recovering from knee surgery. Okafor will then play against the Hornets.
Besides Embiid, the only other Sixer scoring in double figures is Sergio Rodriquez, who is filling in at point guard for the injured Jerryd Bayless (wrist). Rodriguez, who played in the NBA from 2006-10 but was overseas the last six seasons, is scoring at a 13 point-per-game clip. He is also chipping in seven assists a night.
Another newcomer, forward Dario Saric, has missed 17 of 21 shots to date. Saric, who was acquired in a draft-night trade with Orlando in 2014, played in Turkey the last two years.