Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic Pick & Prediction APRIL 12th 2024

Even though he’s still trying to get back up to speed following a 29-game absence, Joel Embiid intends to do everything in his power to guarantee the Philadelphia 76ers a spot in the postseason.

Currently in seventh in the Eastern Conference and headed for the play-in, Philadelphia can take hold of the No. 6 seed when it faces the visiting Orlando Magic on Friday night.

The 76ers (45-35) have been on a tear, using six straight wins to move within a game of sixth-place Indiana and fifth-place Orlando in the East.

A win over the Magic (46-34) would give Philadelphia and Orlando identical records, with the Sixers owning the tiebreaker by virtue of a 3-0 sweep of the season series.

The Pacers, also 46-34, are set to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, but they have the upper hand on Philadelphia after taking two of three games against the 76ers this season.

So, even with a loss by Indiana, the best-case scenario for Philadelphia would be to end Friday night sitting in sixth in the conference.

Embiid has played in four games since his return from left knee surgery, most recently posting 37 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the Sixers’ 120-102 drubbing of the visiting Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

In Embiid’s first game back, the reigning NBA MVP played 29 minutes, then was on the court for 33 and 23 before getting 36 against Detroit.

While Philadelphia already knows it will be playing beyond the regular season, Embiid doesn’t plan on taking his foot off the gas.

“Playing as many minutes as possible,” Embiid said, referring to his goal for the final two games. “(Tuesday), over 30 minutes. The next one, I hope the game’s not close, but if it is, to go over that 35-minute mark. Try and get to 40, and then the last game of the season, same thing.

“Just keep trying to build up.”

Meanwhile, Orlando is trying to avoid a late-season spiral.

The Magic have lost three of their past four games and are coming off Wednesday’s 117-99 setback against the host Milwaukee Bucks.

Cole Anthony paced Orlando with 23 points off the bench, while Paolo Banchero added 20 points, six boards and six assists against Milwaukee.

Banchero realizes the Magic need to be at their absolute best if they want to maintain a top-six seed and avoid having to get through the play-in. Orlando concludes its regular season at home with another meeting with the Bucks on Sunday.

“We have two left,” Banchero said. “One in Philly. They are going to be ready. That should be fun. It’s going to be a game we have to try and go out and get. And then (we) see (Milwaukee) again back home in front of the fans. Looking forward to the next two.”

Turnovers hampered the Magic on Wednesday, with 16 giveaways leading to 27 Milwaukee points. Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley is hoping those mistakes don’t follow his team to Philadelphia.

“Our ability to take care of the basketball is key,” Mosley said. “We just have to do a better job taking care of the basketball.”

–Field Level Media

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