December 9, 2023

What to watch as 76ers try to secure No. 1 seed in East again


Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The 47-23 Philadelphia 76ers’ pursuit of the Eastern Conference’s number one seed has come down to the last weekend of the regular season. For a third time, they’ll be able to clinch the top spot with a victory.

After two road losses, the Sixers will face the 21-49 Orlando Magic at home. The Sixers’ 27-7 home record is best in the East.

Here’s what to watch:

Day after a beating

The 76ers got their butt whooped in Miami Thursday night to the Heat.

As has frequently been the case this season, the Sixers’ schedule forces them to move on quickly. Friday’s game will conclude the Sixers’ 14th and final back-to-back set. They’ve gone 7-6 with zero days rest.

Orlando is also coming off of a game Thursday night, a 116-93 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Facing a laughable team

Orlando has dropped five consecutive games and 18 of its last 22.

The team’s oldest starter against Atlanta was 26-year-old Gary Harris. 

Ignas Brazdeikis, a player waived by the Sixers last month, has been in Orlando’s rotation and played 20-plus minutes in each of the past six games. Joel Embiid shot 9-for-16 and scored 21 of his career-high 50 points on Feb. 19 when guarded by Wendell Carter Jr., now a starter for the Magic.  

If the Sixers play anywhere near their typical level, they should win. The next NBA draft matters a lot more to the Magic than winning the team’s final two games. 

Howard suspended

Dwight Howard will have to watch from the sidelines as it was announced Friday that Howard has been suspended one game without pay for accumulating 16 technical fouls this season..

Howard’s 16th technical came under somewhat stunning circumstances as 40-year-old Udonis Haslem entered an NBA game Thursday night for the first time all season and, minutes after checking into the action, became involved in a scuffle with Howard. 

Video via NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Twitter

Howard and Haslem were each assessed technical fouls. Haslem was called for two and ejected.


When: 8:00 P.M. E.S.T.

Where: Wells Fargo Center

Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia

Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Social media coverage: Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter & Instagram.

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