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Sixers understand matchup with Magic is biggest game of the year

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Philadelphia 76ers have new life. After looking like they would most certainly be playing in the play-in tournament at the beginning of April, the return of Joel Embiid has coincided with a 6-game winning streak that has positioned themselves to move into the top 6 and earn a playoff spot.

A matchup with the Orlando Magic on Friday now has a lot of playoff implications. The Sixers are just a game back of the Magic now and they own the tiebreaker as they have won the season series.

A win on Friday would move Philadelphia ahead of Orlando in the standings barring a win by the Indiana Pacers which would trigger a 3-way tie and the Magic would win that due to them leading their division.

“It’s maybe the biggest game of the year right now for us tomorrow,” said Nic Batum at practice on Thursday. “So we’re at home. I mean, we kind of have everybody back right now. We had a great practice today. You know the crowd’s gonna be into it tomorrow so it can be a good night for everybody.”

Just a few weeks ago, none of this seemed possible. The Sixers looked a bit out of it. It didn’t look possible that they would be able to move out of the play-in, but they have new life and they understand that heading into this battle with the Magic.

“This is the NBA,” Batum added. “Everything changes. Like, tomorrow’s gonna be different. So sometimes you just gotta keep working like I told you a couple weeks ago. You can’t give up, you gotta keep working. We never know. This thing might turn around and it’s kind of turning around right now. So I think the momentum right before the playoffs is great.”

For the Sixers, it would be best to get into the top 6 and climb into a playoff berth. That would give Embiid and others more time to rest and prepare for the rigors of the playoffs and get ready for everything they want to accomplish.

That’s why a win over the Magic is imperative on Friday.

“We need a big win tomorrow,” Batum finished. “It’s gonna be a tough game for sure because they just lost three in a row and they need that game as well so they won’t give it to us, but hopefully, we’ll be ready for tomorrow.”

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire