Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sixers kick off lengthy road trip in central Florida vs. Magic

The Orlando Magic will try and right the ship in central Florida after a disappointing four-game road trip when they welcome the Philadelphia 76ers to Amway Center.

The Magic have dominated the Sixers, who are opening a season-long, eight-game road trip tonight, recently, winning eight straight and 12 of 13 versus Philadelphia.

The Magic finished their recent trek with just one win after dropping a 111-94 decision to the Denver Nuggets in the Rocky Mountains on Tuesday. Carmelo Anthony poured in 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in that one for Denver, which won despite playing without guard Chauncey Billups, who was out with a sprained right wrist.

Dwight Howard finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic, who have lost five of their past six games overall. J.J. Redick donated 29 points and five boards off the bench for Orlando, which got 18 points from Vince Carter.

"(It's) not mismatches, not fatigue. Lack of effort, lack of toughness, lack of any desire to defend anyone," said Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy of why the team has been struggling.

The Magic were without forwards Quentin Richardson (elbow) and Ryan Anderson (foot) and guards Chris Duhon (back) and Mickael Pietrus (knee) against the Nuggets and all are listed as questionable for tonight.

The Sixers, meanwhile, faltered against the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers on Friday when Lamar Odom scored 11 points during a fourth-quarter surge, leading Los Angeles to a 93-81 victory over Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center.

Spencer Hawes continued his recent strong play with 18 points and a season- high 13 rebounds, but the Sixers lost for only the second time in their last nine home games. Andre Iguodala was the only other Philadelphia player who showed up at the offensive end, also netting 18 points while adding six boards and six assists.

"I told our guys I was incredibly proud of them. We played a terrific defensive game against one of the best offensive teams in the league," said Sixers head coach Doug Collins. "What you saw was they cranked it up a little bit on us. We just could not make a shot."

The Sixers starting backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Jodie Meeks had a particularly rough night, combining to shoot just 4-for-22.

Philadelphia, which is just 2-10 away from home, is embarking on its annual season-long road trip while Disney on Ice takes over the Wells Fargo Center.

This year's version will be eight games over the next 18 days and the team will rack up over 9,000 travel miles. Along with Orlando, the Sixers will visit Chicago, Boston, Denver, Golden State, Phoenix, the Lakers and New Orleans before returning home to face Washington on Jan. 5 of next year.
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