With another road trip looming, the 10-10 Sixers will look to move back over .500 on Monday night.
Here are the essentials for their matchup with the Magic ahead of four more games away from home:
- When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:15 p.m.
- Where: Wells Fargo Center
- Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams app
And here are three storylines to watch:
Magic shouldn’t be a stiff challenge
Orlando is 4-17 and on a six-game losing streak. The team hasn’t reached 100 points in four straight games and is near the bottom of the league in most major statistical categories.
Among the Magic players out with injuries are Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, Michael Carter-Williams and Jonathan Isaac. Mo Bamba and Terrence Ross were listed as questionable, both with the designation of “lower back maintenance.”
Especially after a bad start Saturday night in a double overtime loss to the Timberwolves, the Sixers shouldn’t take an inferior opponent lightly. They’ll be the healthier team, too. Shake Milton (questionable with left groin soreness) was the only injured player noted on the team's Monday afternoon report.
Paul Reed has been called back up from the Delaware Blue Coats after totaling 49 points and 22 rebounds over the weekend in the G League. If all goes well for the Sixers, perhaps he’ll get minutes at the end of a blowout win.
Starting and closing lineups
After two straight games coming off the bench, Danny Green said at shootaround Monday that “today might change.” He avoided anything definitive, though.
“That’s above my pay grade,” Green said.
Green played 17 minutes against the Warriors and 22 against Minnesota. He was unsure of the exact number, but Green will remain on a minutes restriction as the team takes a cautious approach following his second left hamstring injury of the year.
The starting lineup with Matisse Thybulle in Green’s place had a rough first half Saturday. Green helped turn the game around early in the third quarter but, because of that restriction, wasn’t an option during the overtimes. There very well may be a debate down the line over whether the Sixers are better off starting Green or Thybulle, but for now the 34-year-old is limited by the Sixers’ medical staff's guidance and staying patient.
“It’s tough watching from the sidelines, but it’s part of the process,” he said. “I’ve got to continue to trust it and move forward game by game.”
Relearning how to play with Embiid
Though every Sixer is familiar with Joel Embiid’s game and gigantic two-way impact, playing next to him again is a significant adjustment. Embiid scored 42 points against Minnesota in his return from COVID-19, although the Sixers’ offense wasn’t always smooth.
Without him, the team had no veritable post-up threat besides Tobias Harris on occasion. Embiid is clearly a far different starting center than Andre Drummond, usually attracting the defense’s attention as soon as he crosses half court.
“He’s a focal point on the offensive end of the floor, so we definitely have to adjust with sometimes slowing the game down and throwing it into the post — and figuring out when the double team’s coming,” Green said. “It’s been a while since we did the double teams — and rotations, and finding our spacing, and Tyrese (Maxey) in the dunker (spot) or certain guys in the dunker. And figuring out how to give him outlets.
“But outside of that, he makes the game easy. He’s going to score down there when we need him to. It’s just a matter of figuring out when to facilitate when the double team’s coming and where we need to be to make it easier for him.”