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Wizards head to Philly to battle Sixers
The Wizards make their way to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Sixers tonight at Wells Fargo Center.
Wells Fargo Center | 7:00 p.m. | NBCSW/NBATV | 1500 AM
Wizards (11-9): G - Frazier, G - Beal, F - Porter Jr., F - Morris, C - Gortat
Sixers (11-8): G - McConnell, G - Redick, F - Saric, F - Covington, C - Embiid
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Achilles - Out), John Wall (Knee - Out)
Sixers: Ben Simmons (Ankle - Questionable), Justin Anderson (Leg - Out), Markelle Fultz (Shoulder - Out), Nik Stauskas (Ankle - Out)
Wiz Look to Sweep Back-to-Back
After letting a couple of games slip away last week, the Wizards flipped the script last night in Minnesota and pulled out a come-from-behind victory, 92-89. It wasn't a pretty win, but they grinded one out and picked up a much needed win in the front end of a tough back-to-back set. The most impressive part of the win may have been that they did so on a night they played without John Wall and Bradley Beal was held to eight points on 2/11 shooting. The bench stepped up and contributed 49 of the team's 92 points, led by Kelly Oubre's 16 on 7/14 shooting. They also played great fourth-quarter defense, anchored by Ian Mahinmi, who played the entire final frame. The Wiz were led by Otto Porter Jr., who scored 22 points and hit the game-winning jumper with 25 seconds left. It was Porter's second straight game scoring over 20 points.
The second leg of that back-to-back set will be tonight in Philadelphia against a Sixers team the Wizards beat back on opening night in D.C.
Tough Week for Sixers
The Sixers had their three-game win streak snapped on Monday night when they were blown out by the Cavs. This came after the Sixers had three straight games of winning games by an average of 20 points. They now have to play at home against Washington tonight, travel to Boston tomorrow, and then host the Pistons on Saturday night. This week will certainly be a good test for a much improved Sixers team and give them a good idea of where they stand in the Eastern Conference.
It has been some time since the Wizards entered Philadelphia to play a Sixers team with a winning record, but that's the case tonight as they've been playing good basketball through the first quarter of the season. Their star young center Joel Embiid has played at an All-Star level, averaging over 22 points, 11 rebounds, and nearly two blocks per game. Their star young point guard, Ben Simmons, has also been fantastic, averaging over 17 points, seven assists, and nine boards, but he's questionable to play tonight after spraining his ankle on Monday night. If he can't go, look for T.J. McConnell and Jerryd Bayless to log extra minutes.
Both teams rank in the top ten in scoring, but may be without their starting point guards, so we'll see how that affects their offense tonight.
The Wizards held the Wolves to under 90 points last night, their second win holding an opponent under 90 points in the last nine days. They used a lineup that featured three of their reserves, Ian Mahinmi, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Mike Scott, for much of the fourth quarter last night, while using Bradley Beal as the primary ball handler. It's a lineup we could see more of with John Wall sidelined as the Wiz look to find different ways to win games. Similar to stopping Karl-Anthony Towns last night, they'll have their hands full again tonight trying to slow down center Joel Embiid. There's a good chance we'll see a similar approach taken in the paint, as Mahinmi and Marcin Gortat will share time trying to keep the young phenom in check.
Over their last ten games, the Wizards have held opponents to just about 97 points per game, the fourth fewest in the league over that time.
Up next, the Wizards return home to host the red-hot Pistons at Capital One Arena on Friday night. (7:00 p.m.)