Happy Hump Day, folks!

The 76ers take a 3-1 record into Thursday’s game against the surprising 4-0 Orlando Magic at the Amway Center, mostly due to Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris combining to score 55 points in the Sixers’ 100-93 victory over the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Tomorrow’s game should be interesting, considering former Sixers first-overall pick Markelle Fultz is finding his groove and averaging 18.3 points for the Magic.

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— Keith Pompey (offthedribble@inquirer.com)

Simmons’ shooting remains a hot topic

Ben Simmons’ offense is almost a daily question for Sixers coach Doc Rivers. Sometimes he’s asked twice a day.

Tuesday was one of those days.

Rivers discussed Simmons’ role as a ball-handler during his pregame media availability. Then after the Sixers’ 100-93 victory, Rivers was asked if Simmons needs to do more, offensively.

The All-Star scored 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting against the Raptors and still hasn’t attempted a three-point shot through four games.

“I want to win,” Rivers said. “I swear … someone told me this a long time ago, ‘You win the game, and you keep winning games, and you don’t worry about who scores.’

“Ben missed some great shots tonight. If he would have converted two or three of the layups that he made and got to the foul line a little bit more, he would have been fine.”

Rivers felt the Sixers played good offensively, but shooters didn’t make shots. That’s his only concern.

“But I could care less,” he said. “I’ll let you guys talk about what Ben doesn’t do. I just want Ben to keep playing great defense, running our team and winning games.”

Starting Five

Knicks out here proving me wrong

I was wrong.

The New York Knicks are better than what yours truly thought. I just knew they were sorry when the Sixers defeated them by 20 points on Saturday night. The Knicks played hard, but I was convinced this team was destined to be among the league’s worst despite having a solid player in Julius Randle.

Well, the Knicks went on to post a 130-110 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks the next night. Yes, the same Bucks squad I said will battle the Brooklyn Nets for the Eastern Conference title. Oh, and you remember that Cleveland Cavs squad that beat the Sixers by 24 points on Sunday? The Knicks handed that squad their first loss on Tuesday.

I don’t know what their record will be at the conclusion of the 72-game season, but the Knicks (2-2) are better than I gave them credit for.

Important Dates:

Thursday: Sixers at Orlando Magic, 6:30 p.m., Amway Center, NBA Sports Philadelphia

Sunday: Charlotte at Sixers, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Monday: Charlotte at Sixers, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Jan. 6: Washington Wizards at Sixers, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, NBA Sports Philadelphia

Jan. 7: Sixers at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m., 7;30 p.m., Barclays Center, NBC Sports Philadelphia

Passing the Rock

Question: A lot of people are freaking out about the team, but it seems to me this is about right given the shortened timeline for the draft, trades, and preseason. The team has been completely rebuilt (again). Do you think we should be expecting more from them at this point? — @DocMadrak on Twitter

Answer: What’s up, Doc? Another great question by you. And I agree 100% with you. I was actually shocked by all the preseason hype this team received due to the reasons you just mentioned. It’s going to take time for this team to gel. In addition to that, this team doesn’t have an A-list, go-to perimeter player needed to contend for an NBA title. That player would also make things easier for Danny Green and Seth Curry. We knew that going in, and Rivers always told us they were behind other teams due to having 10 new players and a new coaching staff. The only surprise to me is that they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers, not the Toronto Raptors.