Game Preview: Wizards vs. 76ers
By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards look to get back on track tonight and salvage a win on this homestand as they close it out by hosting the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time this season at Verizon Center (6:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Sixers beat the Wizards back on January 30th, 92-84, in Philadelphia.
The Sixers had lost a season-high seven straight games before finally beating the Golden State Warriors last night at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sixers scored over 100 points for the first time since January 28th as they were led by their All-Star Jrue Holiday who scored 27 points. Evan Turner was one assist shy of a triple-double, as he finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. Thad Young also had a double-double, he finished with 14 points and 16 boards. Royal Ivey added 17 making the start in place of the injured Nick Young, who missed the game with a sprained ankle. There is no timetable for Young, who was set to play his first game back at Verizon Center since being traded by the Wizards last February.
Like the Wizards, the Sixers want to be known as a defensive team. After making the playoffs last season, they acquired Andrew Bynum in the off-season and were hoping to take their team to the next level. Unfortunately, Bynum has yet to see the floor as a member of the Sixers as a knee injury has kept him sidelined for all of the 2012-13 season. This has caused the Sixers to take a big step back, as they currently sit 12 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. He has scored 20+ points in four of his last five games and 23 times this season.
The Wizards are coming off back-to-back home losses to the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks and look to get back to their winning way at home by taking care of the business tonight. It has been the first time they have lost two straight home games since January 1st and 4th when they fell to the Mavericks and Nets respectively.
Despite the loss on Friday night, the bright spot was the play of 19 year-old rookie Bradley Beal, who scored a career-high 29 points and pulled down 11 boards. Beal is now averaging 20.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists over his last five games. He has scored in double figures in each of the Wizards last eight games and has scored 20+ in three of the last four. The way he is rolling at the moment, look for the Wizards to find Beal early and often to get him going again tonight.
With two tough defensive teams, expect this game to be a grind-it-out affair that may be played in the 80's. Points should be at a premium, which means execution on offense will be even more important for the Wizards to snap their skid and grab a win before hitting the road.
The action kicks off at 6pm.
John Wall got back into form on Friday night, scoring 16 points and dishing out six assists in 42 minutes of action. With A.J. Price sidelined with a quad injury, Wall was forced to play extended minutes which tested his stamina. He seemed to have no problems playing this many minutes, proving that he is fully recovered from his injury and that his conditioning is now close to 100%.
Tonight, he goes up against a first-time All-Star in Jrue Holiday. He 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 8.6 per game. It has not affected his scoring, as he is also averaging just under 19 points per game and leads the Sixers in both categories.
In the below clip, John Wall finds Bradley Beal for the jumper.
In this clip, Wall addressed the media after Friday night's game.