Orlando Magic vs Philadelphia 76ers Match Preview

Audition report from the AdventHealth Training Center

ORLANDO- The Orlando Magic once again welcomed Paolo Banchero and Moe Wagner to their lineup Friday night.

More help could be on the way.

Markelle Fultz was upgraded to questionable on the team’s injury report for the first time this season ahead of the Magic’s Sunday night showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers at 6 p.m. ET.

“It’s really good to have these guys out there,” Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley said recently. “Just add more corpses over time. You are healthy. It will be great for us to get our boys healthy.

Even though he won’t be able to play on Sunday, the injury report update signals that Fultz’s return is likely to come in the near future. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft missed all of training camp, the preseason and the team’s first 19 regular-season games after sustaining a fracture in his left big toe that offseason. The 6-foot, 4-point guard played in 18 games with Orlando last season, averaging 10.8 points, 5.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals. in 20.0 minutes per competition.

While his return would be more than welcome, the constant shuffling of players in and out of the roster — as the Magic has had to do due to injuries — has created its own unique challenges. Offensive flow and defensive communication were two issues that crept in and injured Orlando in his 107-99 loss to Philadelphia on Friday.

“It’s definitely not easy at all,” Mosley said of the constant roster adjustments. “Understanding when boys go out. Boys get spanked, spanked, and these are minutes that (some) boys have never played before. Those opportunities are there and we’ll keep looking for guys to get those opportunities, but hopefully if we get a full roster back, we can assess and assess the right path.

The Sixers, meanwhile, are dealing with injuries to a number of their franchise cornerstones. Joel Embiid (left metatarsal sprain), James Harden (right foot; tendon strain) and Tyrese Maxey (fractured left foot) missed Philadelphia’s first meeting with Orlando and will miss out again on Sunday.

However, the Sixers still have plenty of firepower. Shake Milton flirted with a triple-double (24 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists) and Tobias Harris had a double-double of his own (23 points and 10 rebounds) in Philadelphia’s road win. Georges Niang came off the bench and hit five threes on his way to 18 points.

“I definitely think we need to step up and keep them off the boards,” said Banchero, who had 19 points, four rebounds and three assists to return to action after spraining his left ankle. “They’re shooting threes, which leads to long rebounds, so they got a lot of second chances because we didn’t box out. So, definitely clean up on the boards and then find shooters. We knew Niang was a sniper coming in and we let him get (five) threes. He took some big shots. We can’t let that happen in the next game. We need to know where he is. And then try to step it up a notch.”

IN AND OUT: Terrence Ross (illness) is likely. Wendell Carter Jr. (right plantar fascia; strain), Fultz, Kevon Harris (illness), Chuma Okeke (left knee pain) and Jalen Suggs (right ankle pain) are questionable. Cole Anthony (right internal oblique tear) and Jonathan Isaac (recovering from left knee injury) are out for the Magic.

Out for Philadelphia are Embiid, Harden, Maxey, Jaden Springer (right quad trunk) and Matisse Thybulle (left ankle tenosynovitis).

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It makes it difficult (to get into a rhythm with guys going in and out) but it’s a bad example because (the Sixers) are doing the same thing. I think they handled that better (on Friday) and played more consistently throughout the game. We had more ups and downs. We’ll get another chance on Sunday.” – Franz Wagner, who fired a game-high 24 points against Philadelphia on Friday

HOW TO SEE: Watch the game on Bally Sports Florida or tune in to the radio on FM 96.9 The Game.

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