Following Monday’s 103-83 throttling of Washington, the 76ers improved to 12-6 on the season and have thrived without an established superstar on the roster.
The only problem is Philadelphia has yet to prove it can beat elite teams in the legue. Only three of its victories have come against teams with winning records and the team was embarrassed during a 113-92 loss in Miami, a team playing without Dwyane Wade.
Following three consecutive games against sub-.500 teams, Philadelphia enters the toughest stretch of its season.
Starting Monday, the 76ers play the Magic, Bulls, Heat, Hawks, Lakers, Spurs and Clippers in a 12-day stretch.
Philadelphia is off to a hot start, but it can prove to be a legitimate contender with a strong showing against the best teams in the league.
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It’s been a full season since LeBron James has left the Cavaliers and Tuesday marks the first time he faces Kyrie Irving, the new cornerstone of the franchise. Irving has been impressive, averaging 17.4 points, 4.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds through 15 games.
Both teams have began the season by winning every game at home this season, with the Bulls going 8-0 at the United Center. With Derrick Rose finally back after missing four-straight games with a toe injury, Chicago looks to improve upon the best record in the league.
Meeting for the second time in two weeks, the two teams from Los Angeles are not only seeking control of the Staples Center, but the top seed in the Pacific Division. The Clippers took the opener behind Chris Paul’s season-high 33 point effort, but the point guard hasn’t played since, sitting with an injured hamstring.
New York is in the midst of a six game losing streak and the player expected to turn around its miserable season practiced for the first time on Monday. Point guard Baron Davis has yet to play this season, recovering from a herniated disc, is expected to turn around the anemic Knicks offense and can possibly make his debut in prime-time.
In a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat are hoping to return Dwyane Wade back into the lineup seamlessly. Miami is 5-0 in games missed by its star shooting guard and 5-4 with him in the lineup. Wade hasn’t played since Jan. 13, when the Heat lost to Denver, but did practice Friday and is listed as day-to-day.
Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic
Monday 7 p.m. ET
In a battle of two surprising division leaders in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia must find a way to contain center Dwight Howard. On any night, Howard is a difficult match-up, but with Spencer Hawes and Nikola Vucevic nursing injuries the 76ers are relying on Elton Brand to slow down the five-time All-Star.
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