76ers On a Tear
The Southeast Division-leading Magic look to beat the 76ers for the third time this month when the teams meet Wednesday night.
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At 7-4, Philadelphia (25-32) has one of the league's top records in February and it has helped move it into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Two of the 76ers' losses this month, however, have come against the Magic (37-22).
Orlando shot 54.1 percent (40-for-74) from the field in a 108-106 win over Philadelphia on Feb. 1, and 51.2 percent (42-for-82) in a 115-99 victory on Friday night. The Magic have won four straight in Philadelphia and four in a row in the series overall.
Orlando enters this contest having won three straight, a stretch that began with its latest win over Philadelphia. The Magic's last victory came Tuesday night, when it beat New Jersey 102-92 behind Hedo Turkoglu's 25 points.
Turkoglu helped Orlando reach 100 points for the ninth straight game, scoring 17 points in the final quarter.
"We have played through him in the fourth quarter because he has proven this year he is a clutch player," Orlando point guard Keyon Dooling said of Turkoglu. "So we ride him in the fourth quarter, because not only can he score, but he can create shots for other people.
"He's a unique player. He's 6-10 and can shoot the ball, handle it, pass it and post up. He's one of the most versatile players in the league and everybody is seeing it now."
Turkoglu is averaging 27.0 points and 6.5 assists in two games versus the 76ers this season. In Friday's contest, Turkoglu had 31 points and seven assists while shooting 7-for-11 from 3-point range.
Dwight Howard has also had two strong games against Philadelphia, averaging 20.5 points and 16.0 rebounds. The fourth-year center is coming off his 50th double-double of the season, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds against the Nets.
Howard's matchup with Philadelphia's Samuel Dalembert will be one of the focal points of this contest. Dalembert has been a big part of the 76ers' improvement this season, averaging 10.9 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks to give Philadelphia an intimidating presence in the paint.
Dalembert has averaged only 8.0 points this season against Orlando, but also has posted 10.0 rebounds. He was held to eight points against Miami on Saturday night, but had 11 boards and four blocks as Philadelphia won 101-96 in overtime.
Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller both scored 24 points for the 76ers. Iguodala, the team leader with 19.5 points per game, had 25 on Friday.
That loss to Orlando was only Philadelphia's second defeat in its last nine games. After two straight games on the road, the 76ers will try to extend a six-game home winning streak. They are holding opponents to 84.7 points per game in that span.
Philadelphia's last loss at Wachovia Center was on Feb. 1 against Orlando.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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