Embiid uncertain as 76ers seek rebound vs. Magic
The Philadelphia 76ers will look to bounce back after a tough home loss when they host the Orlando Magic Tuesday night.
The Sixers fell to the Golden State Warriors 120-117 on Saturday while playing once again without All-Star center Joel Embiid.
Ben Simmons led the way with his 10th triple-double of the season, totaling 28 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists, but he also had nine turnovers. Mike Scott scored a season-high 22 points, while Jimmy Butler added 21. Tobias Harris also had 20 in the balanced effort offensively.
The Sixers weren't able to hold a lead and made numerous mistakes in the waning minutes, a trend that has been repeated many times this season.
"Of course, you're going up against the Warriors, who have a tremendous team," Simmons said. "And this group hasn't been together for that long, and I think we're learning every game. I think it's a lot of positives that you can take out of this game."
The Warriors rallied for the win without guard Klay Thompson, while the Sixers had to deal with the aftermath of another maddening loss.
While general manager Elton Brand upgraded the roster with Butler, Harris, Boban Marjanovic -- who is injured -- and James Ennis, among others, the Sixers are still very much a work in progress.
"Some of it isn't their fault and it's nobody's fault, it's just the fact that we've been with each other for a minute," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "And at times like that it rears its head and you feel that pain."
The Sixers will be searching for their fourth consecutive home victory over the Magic.
Embiid has not been ruled out after practicing on Monday, but Brown did not sound optimistic about the big man's availability.
"You could tell that he has not played basketball in a while," Brown said of how Embiid looked in practice. He added that Embiid "just doesn't feel like he's ready to go."
The Magic, meanwhile, appeared to be surging with victories over the Warriors and Indiana Pacers to move to 30-34 and into a playoff spot.
But the Magic traveled to Cleveland Sunday and were pounded 107-93 by the host Cavaliers, falling to 30-35.
Nikola Vucevic paced Orlando with 28 points, 13 rebounds and six assists while shooting 13 of 16. D.J. Augustin contributed 19 points, but the Magic struggled after the game was tied at 81.
Magic head coach Steve Clifford held a team meeting following the loss.
"Every game counts the same," Clifford told reporters. "To not look at it that way, that every game is important, it's a losing mentality and a total lack of understanding of what the NBA is."
Augustin's 29 minutes were a pleasant surprise considering he had a balky left ankle. After going through pregame warmups, he was able to start.
"You can't take any team lightly in this league," Augustin told reporters. "The Cavs deserved to win. It's disappointing, but we're going to have to earn our way into the playoffs. It's all on us."
The Magic bench struggled and was outscored 47-13 by the Cavaliers' bench. That wasn't the only reason the Magic lost. There were defensive breakdowns, rebounding issues and a lack of execution on offense in the fourth quarter.
"We just couldn't get it going all night," Magic forward Aaron Gordon told reporters. "Defensively we just weren't tied together. We weren't in our spots. It's frustrating, especially in the game we wanted 1/8to win 3/8."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 4, 2019