Unbeaten Magic host red-hot Embiid and 76ers

NBA

The Orlando Magic will look to continue their historic start when they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

The Magic have won their first four games for the first time in franchise history and entered Wednesday’s play as one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the league, with the Atlanta Hawks (3-0).

Orlando defeated the host Oklahoma City Thunder 118-107 on Tuesday to improve to 4-0.

The goal now is to keep the amazing streak going.

“It’s very exciting to be 4-0,” said Orlando guard Markelle Fultz, a former No. 1 overall pick by the Sixers. “Our goal is to come out every night and win, so to be able to have four wins and especially going on a road trip and go 3-0 is a boost for us. We’ve got to continue improving and growing.”

Ever-improving Nikola Vucevic, another former Sixer, led the way against OKC with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Dwayne Bacon added 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field.

Statistics aside, head coach Steve Clifford remains more focused on day-to-day improvement.

“It’s about either losing or winning, being able to learn from the game and get better,” Clifford said. “And that’s what I hope that we’re able to do. Three games in a row on the road is difficult in this league and guys have done a good job.”

With a 12-for-18 effort against the Thunder, Vucevic increased his career total to 4,084 made field goals with the Magic, breaking Nick Anderson’s record of 4,075.

“It was very humbling for me,” Vucevic said. “All of the great players that have played for the Magic, for me to be the all-time leader in field goals made, especially when you know all of the great scorers that played here, it’s a huge honor and a big motivation for me to keep working.”

The 76ers, meanwhile, will be looking for their second straight victory.

Philadelphia improved to 3-1 with a 100-93 win over the visiting Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. Joel Embiid overcame a brief injury scare to his right leg in the third quarter to finish with 29 points and 16 rebounds.

Embiid has reached at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in the three games he has played to become the first Philadelphia player to accomplish the feat since Charles Barkley in 1986-87.

“He was terrific, dominant,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said of Embiid. “It’s funny … obviously, he had 29 points. I thought he made the three key plays down the stretch by passes.”

Embiid limped to the locker room for a 4:01 stretch of the third quarter, but Rivers wasn’t fazed too much.

“Every time I asked, I got bad news,” Rivers said. “You can tell, I didn’t even go down there. I rarely go down there, because every time I go down there to ask ‘how are you’ the news is bad. So I didn’t want any bad news, let me put it that way.”

The Sixers were drilled by 24 points in their first road game at Cleveland on Sunday. They were one of the worst road teams last season, going 10-24.

Next stop, Orlando.

If the Sixers are going to win, they’ll likely need another stellar effort from Tobias Harris, who had 26 points and 11 rebounds against the Raptors.

“That leadership and that toughness he showed was terrific,” Rivers said of Harris.

–Field Level Media

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