After a lackluster performance at Washington, the Philadelphia 76ers return home to play seven of their next eight games, starting with a matchup Wednesday night against the struggling Orlando Magic.
The Sixers came out flat and fell 117-98 to the Wizards on Monday. Only Joel Embiid (32) and Tyrese Maxey (18) managed to score in double figures.
Maxey pointed to one specific reason for the loss.
"Our offense is tied to our defense," Maxey said. "When you're turning the ball over and you miss certain shots and they get out and run, it's hard to stop guys from making wide-open layups and making wide-open threes. I think once we set our defense, we were pretty good actually, but it's hard to set your defense when guys are up and running the whole time."
Despite the loss, Embiid produced at least 30 points for the 11th consecutive time on the road. With key injured players such as Danny Green (hip), Matisse Thybulle (shoulder) and Shake Milton (back), clearly the Sixers needed even more from their All-Star in the middle.
It's unclear if the Sixers will get any of their injured players back against the Magic.
"Honestly, it was one of those nights that you couldn't get him the ball enough," Sixers coach Doc Rivers said of Embiid. "I was exasperated with that. Just because they trapped him, they threw it out, the ball can still go back. I called a timeout to get us a repost one time. We didn't see the game properly on the floor and that happens."
The Magic recorded a surprising 116-109 road win over the Charlotte Hornets last Friday but have since dropped consecutive games to the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers.
Aside from being one of the youngest teams in the league, the Magic also have been besieged by injuries and absences due to COVID-19. Even head coach Jamahl Mosley was sidelined in the health and safety protocol for Orlando's 98-88 loss to the Trail Blazers on Monday.
Moritz Wagner and Franz Wagner led the Magic with 14 points apiece, but the game never really was close as the Trail Blazers controlled the tempo from the opening tip.
Call it another learning experience for the Magic, who have 37 losses in 45 games.
"I was locked in and I was competing and I was trying to help our guys win that game," Orlando acting head coach Jesse Mermuys said. "And we struggled to get anything going offensively. And as a head coach, or an assistant coach, you take that on yourself. I feel bad I wasn't able to help them more try to get a rhythm and try to get hot offensively."
The Magic dropped to 0-20 this season when scoring fewer than 100 points. They also shot just 8 of 32 from beyond the 3-point arc.
"We missed shots that we normally make," said Mo Bamba, who scored five points and had nine rebounds. "In those situations, we need to be able to fall back on our defense."
--Field Level Media