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6-9

76ers-Magic Preview

AP - Sports

While Michael Carter-Williams continues to post excellent numbers, his individual efforts haven't translated into many wins for the slumping Philadelphia 76ers.

Fellow rookie Victor Oladipo hasn't been as consistent for the last-place Orlando Magic, but he appears to be coming around.

Carter-Williams tries to lead the 76ers to a rare win in Orlando as he and Oladipo meet for the first time since the NCAA tournament Wednesday night.

Carter-Williams has come up huge thus far, posting rookie bests of 17.3 points, 7.4 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game. The 11th overall pick in this year's draft also leads all first-year players with four double-doubles.

"I'm trying to work on it each and every day and trying to be the best leader I can," he said. "I'm just taking it one day at a time, learning from the veterans. Being the point guard, you have to be a leader. Coach (Brett Brown) has a lot of confidence in me, so I have to bring that confidence out on the floor."

Carter-Williams had a season-high 29 points to go along with seven steals in Saturday's 106-98 loss at Indiana. The 76ers (6-9), who continue to play without Thaddeus Young due to personal reasons, were also missing fellow starter Spencer Hawes (knee).

Hawes, averaging 26.5 points on 72.4 percent shooting and 11.0 boards in his last two games, could return Wednesday.

"We're going out there and playing as a team, no matter who's on the floor, we all have confidence in each other," said Carter-Williams, whose team has dropped five of six and five straight on the road. "We're just going out there and playing as hard as we can."

After leading Syracuse past top-seeded Indiana in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament, Carter-Williams will try to get the best of Oladipo again.

The former Hoosiers standout has shown flashes of brilliance but is averaging just 12.7 points and 4.1 turnovers, the NBA's third-worst mark.

Oladipo, though, has at least 17 points in three of four games since moving into the starting lineup. He scored 10 of his 18 in the fourth quarter as Orlando (5-9) snapped a four-game skid with Tuesday's 109-92 win at Atlanta.

Arron Afflalo, averaging 25.2 points in the last six games, stayed hot with 26 and Andrew Nicholson added 18 off the bench. Nikola Vucevic chipped in 12 and 15 rebounds for the Magic, who shot 50.6 percent and outscored the Hawks 46-26 in the paint.

Orlando improved to 5-1 when holding opponents to 92 points or fewer.

"Defensively, we were really aggressive to the basketball," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We were locating shooters and we were in the right place. It was fun to see."

The Magic would appear to have a good chance to make it two in a row for the first time in three weeks with Philadelphia coming to town. Orlando has taken 20 of 24 in the series, including 10 of 11 at home.

Jameer Nelson has averaged 17.7 points and 9.7 assists while going 15 of 28 from 3-point range in the last six home games against the 76ers.

Vucevic, acquired from Philadelphia in August 2012, is averaging 11.7 points and 16.7 rebounds in three matchups against his former team. He ranks fifth in the league with 11.0 boards per contest.

Orlando has dropped three straight at home by an average of 14.7 points.

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