An action-packed night in the NBA with 11 games on tap. Our pick for the League Pass Game of the Night is the Philadelphia 76ers at the Orlando Magic which tips off at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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The big story in this game is the 76ers debut of All-Star Jimmy Butler, brought in over the weekend in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler is slated to be in the starting lineup.
Jimmy Butler will start vs ORL, along with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Wilson Chandler & JJ Redick. The Markelle Fultz starting experience is effectively over but Brett Brown is adamant that MF, "did nothing wrong" & has full support of "our program."- Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) November 14, 2018
Butler slides into the spot vacated by Robert Covington who along with fellow starter Dario Saric, was sent to Minnesota in the trade. Like Covington, Butler is an incredily strong wing defender yet should provide a substantial upgrade on the offensive end as he is one of the league's best at getting to the line and is a proven crunch-time scorer.
JJ Redick's move into the starting lineup alongside Butler signals a return to the bench for second-year guard Markelle Fultz who has started every game this season yet has struggled to re-discover his shot. Despite the relegation to a reserve role, the franchise has stood by Fultz in recent days and is still incredibly high on his future and role with the team moving forward.
In particular, it will be interesting to watch how Butler operates with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the two franchise cornerstones who like to operate with the ball in their hands. So far this season, both of them rank inside the top 15 in the NBA in touches per game.
"I love basketball. That's where my energy comes from. I love to compete."@JimmyButler on his consistent energy on the court. #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/GErPe94By9- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 14, 2018
Philadelphia enters with a 9-6 record, third in the Eastern Conference behind the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks. The 76ers have won two of their last three games on the road after starting the season 0-5 away from the Wells Fargo Center.
The Magic enter tonight 6-8, tied with the Brooklyn Nets for eighth in the Eastern Conference.
Nikola Vucevic presents an interesting challenge for Embiid as he enters averaging 19.7 points and 13.0 rebounds per game over his last three games. He is one of just four players in the league averaging at least 18 points, 10 rebounds, one block and one steal, joining Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond.
Rookie Mohamed Bamba is looking to bounce back after going scoreless in 11 minutes in Orlando's eight-point loss to the Wizards. That game came on the heels of back-to-back 15-point performances in what were his two best games of the season.
The Magic are looking to end a bad trend against the 76ers as they have lost the last four meetings including a tight game earlier this season in which they led in the final minute.