By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards will wrap up their home slate tonight when they host the Philadelphia 76ers at Verizon Center (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The season series is tied, 1-1.
Over the last few weeks, the Wizards have been eyeing the Sixers in the standings as their last realistic hurdle to leap and if they have any shot of doing so they will need to take care of business with a win tonight. The Wizards saw their nine game home winning streak come to an end on Wednesday night when they fell 103-98 to the Miami Heat. They will want to quickly erase that memory from the home fans minds and finish the home portion of the schedule on a high note.
Similar to the Wizards, the Sixers want to be known as a defensive team. But, like the Wizards, they have struggled over the last few games on the defensive end and in turn have dropped their last three games by a combined 73 points. They have allowed over 100 points in all three contests, including a 124 spot to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night in Philadelphia. There is no question that the team has missed the presence of Andrew Bynum in the middle, as he has missed the entire season with a knee injury. After making the playoffs last season, they acquired Bynum in the off-season and were hoping to take their team to the next level. But his injury has caused the Sixers to take a big step back, as they currently sit 16 games under .500.
A bright spot for the Sixers has been the play of fourth year point guard Jrue Holiday, who was named to his first All-Star Game this year. He has taken a leap to the next level, averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage, and minutes. Holiday was a good young guard and has become an All-Star who is the focal point of the Sixers offense. Although he is shooting 43% for the year, his FG% has been just 36.5% since March 1st.
The last time they met, the Wizards hung on for a 90-87 win at home back on March 3rd. It was John Wall who scored six of his 16 points in the final 2 minutes of the game to seal the win for the Wiz. Wall has been on some kind of streak ever since, averaging 22.1 points, 7.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game since March 1st. Look for Wall to put on a show one more time for the home crowd before hitting the road for the final two games of the season.
The action kicks off at 7pm.
The home fans will get one last chance to see John Wall tonight as he looks to continue his outstanding play in the home finale. How good has Wall been? Wall, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are the only three players who are averaging at least 22.0 points, 7.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game since March 1st. Pretty elite company for the third-year point guard. Tonight, he goes up against another rising star in the Sixers' Jrue Holiday.
Holiday was a guard who at times had a score first mentality in his first three years in the league, but now has become a top distributor in the league, ranking fourth in assists with 8.3 per game. It has not affected his scoring, as he is also averaging just under 18 points per game and leads the Sixers in both categories.
In the below clip, John Wall finishes an acrobatic reverse layup.
In this clip, Wall uses the double-pump.