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Wizards play Sixers in first game of home-and-home
Coming off one of their best wins of the season, the Wizards will wrap up a three-game road trip on Tuesday in Philadelphia. In the first game of a home-and-home matchup, the Wizards and Sixers will tip off at 7:00 P.M. The old school back-to-back will be the only one of its kind this season for Washington, with the Sixers in the nation’s capital on Wednesday. The Wizards have won three of their last four games, while the Sixers have won six of their last eight.
Wells Fargo Center | 7:00 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Tomas Satoransky, G – Bradley Beal, F – Trevor Ariza, F – Jeff Green, C – Thomas Bryant
Sixers: G – Ben Simmons, G – J.J. Redick, F – Jimmy Butler, F – Wilson Chandler, C – Joel Embiid
Wizards: Dwight Howard (aggravated gluteal soreness – out), John Wall (left heel soreness – out), Markieff Morris (transient cervical neuropraxia – out)
Sixers: Ben Simmons (illness – questionable), Markelle Fultz (thoracic outlet syndrome – out), Justin Patton (right foot surgery – out), Zhaire Smith (Jones fracture, left foot – out)
Build off Sunday’s win
The Wizards played their most impressive game of the season Sunday, and it all started with tremendous energy on the defensive end. They demolished the Thunder 55-41 on the boards (including 16 offensive rebounds), recorded eight blocks and eight steals and only committed nine turnovers to the Thunder’s 14. For the Wizards to beat the Sixers on Tuesday in a tough environment, they will need that energy and game-winning plays for 48 minutes once again. The Sixers are top 10 in rebounding percentage, assist percentage, true shooting, pace, and fast break points.
Even though shots were not falling all night in OKC, the Wizards still found a way to score 116 points. Otto Porter Jr. provided a spark off the bench with 20 points on 4-of-6 3-point shooting, and the team will need that against the Sixers. Bradley Beal scored his usual 25 points, but more importantly the Wizards got the win and Beal had zero turnovers. Washington likely won’t shoot the ball that poorly again (43.6% FG, 27.0% 3PT), but it has become clear that the team’s winning formula comes on the defensive end.
Since the Wizards and Sixers met in Philadelphia in late November, the Sixers are 10-6 overall. The Wizards now without John Wall and Keef Morris for the foreseeable future, and has completely changed how they play. The Sixers have been relatively healthy since that matchup, and have been through some growing pains with Jimmy Butler now in town. Ben Simmons missed practice Monday due to illness, and his status is unclear for Tuesday.
The key to victory will be stopping Joel Embiid, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Embiid is averaging 26.9 points and 13.5 rebounds per game this season, absolutely dominating for the Sixers. Thomas Bryant, who will get the first crack at Embiid, struggled early against Steven Adams on Sunday, but made halftime adjustments and came out strong in the third quarter. Ian Mahinmi had one of his best games of the season against the Thunder, and the Wizards will need him during this de facto two-game series.
Tuesday and Wednesday’s home-and-home creates a playoff-like two-game series between these two teams. After the game in Philly on Tuesday, both teams will head to D.C. to play on Wednesday. The Sixers have been the best home team in the NBA this season, going 17-3 at Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia is 12.3 points per 100 possessions better at home than on the road, while the Wizards are 5-17 on the road this season. Over the past two seasons, the Sixers have had one of the best homecourt advantages in all of sports, but the Wizards have been great at home recently too. Winners of eight of their last 10 games at home, the Wizards have been one of the East’s top home teams as well. Washington is 11.8 points per 100 possessions better at home this season on the road, including scoring 9.0 more points per game at home than away from Capital One Arena. The Sixers are 9-11 on the road this season.