Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sixers host Orlando Magic tonight

A night after an impressive performance in Atlanta, the Sixers host Orlando tonight.

Sixers host Orlando Magic tonight

Spencer Hawes´ offensive contributions will be key against Orlando. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Spencer Hawes' offensive contributions will be key against Orlando. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

There is not time to baste in the glory of what was their most impressive overall game of the season. Though the Sixers blasted the Hawks in Atlanta on Tuesday night by 34 points, they have to forget about it and deal with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

Here are some keys for the Sixers in tonight's game.

*Get something offensively from Spencer Hawes. If the center can make some shots from the outside, thus drawing Howard away from the basket a little bit, that could clear some space for Elton Brand. Brand has been on fire lately, averaging 26 points and shooting 67.4 percent over his last three games.

*Use fouls on Howard. It wasn't an accident that Collins sat Tony Battie in Tuesday's blowout over Atlanta. He knew that the backup center would be called upon to bang with Howard for some minutes tonight. Battie plays well against his former teammate and isn't afraid to put Howard on the line, where the All-Star center struggles mightily.

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*Get out on three-point shooters. Ryan Anderson, Hedu Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, J.J. Redick are all three-point threats for the Magic. They can't get continuous open shots from long range. Help on Howard will have to be minimal so defenders can stay on these sharp shooters.

*Keep Jameer Nelson out front. The former Saint Joseph's star has a favorite move, one in which he drives all the way under the basket on the baseline and either kicks to an open spot-up shooter, finds Howard thundering down the lane, or shoots a short fade away. When he does this, good things usually happen for Orlando. Jrue Holiday and other defenders have to take away the baseline and try to keep Nelson in the middle of the floor.

*Carry over the momentum from Atlanta. When you are in the midst of playing four games in five nights, which the Sixers are, you have to find sources of energy any way you can. If they can carry over some of the positives from Tuesday, particularly at the beginning of the game, it would help.


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About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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