Howard will be back in the lineup after serving a one-game suspension when Orlando looks to set a team record with its sixth straight road victory over Philadelphia on Monday night.
The Magic (50-30) dropped to 1-3 without their star center Sunday, falling 102-99 to Chicago. Howard picked up his 18th technical foul Wednesday against Charlotte, resulting in his second one-game suspension of the season.
Ryan Anderson(notes) filled in ably for Howard in his first start in 12 games, scoring a career-high 28 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Jason Richardson(notes) added 24 points for Orlando, which has locked up the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and will face Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs.
“I think we just know how good a team we are,” Anderson said. “I think when we come out and play the entire game like we did tonight, I think we can play against anybody.”
The Sixers certainly won’t be thrilled to see Howard back on the court. He had 26 points and 20 rebounds against Philadelphia on Dec. 18, though the Magic lost 97-89. Orlando took the next two meetings in very close fashion, with a 99-98 victory Jan. 19 going to overtime.
The most recent win was 99-95 on Feb. 9, Orlando’s fifth consecutive road victory in the series. The Magic, who won five in a row at Philadelphia from Feb. 12, 2001-Jan. 12, 2003, have taken nine of the last 10 road matchups.
Louis Williams(notes) has averaged 22.0 points in this season’s three meetings, but the club’s top reserve has missed the last three games with a strained right hamstring. Philadelphia (41-39) had lost three in a row before a 98-93 win over Toronto on Friday.
The 76ers have failed to reach the 100-point mark in four consecutive games for the first time since a five-game stretch Jan. 14-22.
“We’re just a little bit off-kilter right now,” coach Doug Collins said. “We’re not as connected as we’ve been. Our rotation is a little screwed up right now.”
Williams, averaging 13.7 points, may not be ready for the start of the playoffs.
“We’re out of sync,” Collins said. “You lose a big part of the team.”
“I’m personally anxious (for the playoffs),” Brand said. “I hope we’re not looking ahead. Maybe that has a little bit to do with (the recent struggles).”
With one victory, Philadelphia will secure its first winning record since going 43-39 in 2004-05.
Orlando will be without swingman Quentin Richardson(notes), who will complete a two-game suspension for shoving the Bobcats’ Gerald Henderson(notes) in the face. Reserve J.J. Redick(notes) has missed 15 straight games with a lower abdominal strain and his status is uncertain.