Orlando (11-32) at Philadelphia (19-23)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Fri Jan 23, 2004
  • TV: WRBW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With the team getting healthy and Glenn Robinson finally starting to fit in, the Philadelphia 76ers hope to make a run in the Atlantic Division.

Philadelphia, which will host the lowly Orlando Magic on Friday, has been beset by injuries all season. The 76ers have had a full roster in uniform for just seven games this season, including Wednesday’s 92-86 win over New Orleans.

“It’s good now that we got a lot of guys back, we can get back in the gym and practice and try to get some chemistry,” Allen Iverson said.

Robinson was acquired in the offseason from Atlanta to be a second scoring option, but he has missed 18 games this season with a variety of injuries.

Iverson has played in just 30 of the team’s 42 contests this season.

While Iverson had 22 points Wednesday—nearly five below his league-leading average—Robinson stepped up to score 23 points and grab eight rebounds.

“I’m just starting to get back in form like I like to,” said Robinson, averaging 24.4 points the last seven games.

Robinson has been averaging 17.7 points this season, about three below his average last season. Lately, however, the 10-year veteran feels his teammates have been better at getting him the ball in spots where he likes to shoot.

Iverson, who hopes to have some scoring pressure taken off him, was pleased with Robinson’s assessment.

“That’s important. That’s what we need,” Iverson said. “He started off kind of slow, but now I think he’s found his rhythm and that’s big for us because it’s going to help us in the long run.”

Despite all of its injuries, Philadelphia is only three games behind first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic.

While the 76ers are finally healthy and hope for a strong second half to the season, the Magic are languishing with the worst record in the league.

After splitting a home-and-home set with Milwaukee this week, Orlando has dropped 10 of its last 13 games.

Juwan Howard tied a season high with 24 points in Wednesday’s 113-102 loss to the Bucks. Orlando had closed a 10-point lead to 102-100 with 1:01 to go, but could get no closer.

“We had a chance to win it down the stretch,” Howard said.

Tracy McGrady, second in the league to Iverson with 26.4 points per game, was held to 20 on Wednesday and missed his only three shots in the fourth quarter. McGrady, who was playing with a strained big toe, had scored 34 points in the Magic’s 106-99 victory over Milwaukee on Monday.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 21): Magic - 7th place, 11 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. 76ers - 3rd place, 3 GB, Atlantic Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Magic - F Keith Bogans, F Howard, C Andrew DeClercq, G McGrady, G Rod Strickland. 76ers - F Robinson, F Kenny Thomas, C Derrick Coleman, G Eric Snow, G Iverson.

TEAM LEADERS: Magic - McGrady, 26.4 ppg and 5.8 apg; Drew Gooden, 7 rpg. 76ers - Iverson, 26.9 ppg; Thomas, 9.5 rpg; Snow, 7.2 apg.

SEASON SERIES: 76ers, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 12; 76ers, 87-82. At Orlando, Iverson had 26 points despite shooting 9-for-29 from the field and Samuel Dalembert set career highs with 15 points and 11 rebounds. McGrady scored 32 points, including 10 of the Magic’s 16 in the fourth quarter.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Magic - 5-18 on the road; 76ers - 10-10 at home.

INJURIES: Magic - G Tyronn Lue (gluteus); G Reece Gaines (knee); F Pat Garrity (knee); F Grant Hill (ankle). 76ers - C Todd MacCulloch (foot); C Marc Jackson (finger); G Willie Green (thumb).

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