While the Washington Wizards are coming off their first road loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Philadelphia 76ers somehow managed to pick up their first win against the defending champions Miami Heat on Wednesday. The game will tip off from the Verizon Center at 7:00 PM.
Key Match Up
Since Brandon Jennings was out last game, tonight will be the first time we’ll get to see John Wall match up with one of the league’s most intriguing point guards. Michael Carter-Williams, the rookie point guard out of Syracuse, led the Sixers to their first win of the season by putting up 22 points, 7 rebounds, 12 assists, and and 9 steals (!!!). Did ‘MCW’ get the memo? The Sixers were built to get a very high draft pick in this upcoming NBA Draft, but I guess the rookie isn’t having any of it. Despite the lack of severe lack of talent surrounding him, Carter-Williams won’t buy into the “tank” job just yet, trying to prove to the Sixers organization that they didn’t make much of a mistake after trading All-Star guard Jrue Holiday on draft night. With that said, John Wall isn’t falling into the hype just yet [quote via CSN Washington]:
It’s opening night. You get excited. A lot of adrenaline is going through your blood. When you got all the legends in there, Charles Barkley, Julius Erving, Allen Iverson, all those guys are in building and you’re playing the defending champs… “It’s an exciting game. You go out there and play and you play hard. Their team went out there and competed like you’re supposed to. Any team can be beaten in this league.
Like Carter Williams; John Wall had a similar night during his first home opener in the nation’s capital, and he obviously wasn’t able to replicate those numbers on a nightly basis. Although Carter-Williams is athletic enough to defend John Wall, I’m not quite sure he’s ever guarded any point guard of Wall’s caliber. Without a legitimate frontline defending the basket, Wall will need to continuously penetrate the defense instead of settling for tough jump shots like he did on Wednesday. If Wall remains aggressive, and I’m sure he will since he doesn’t seem all too pleased with his performance last game, the Wizards should cruise to their first victory of the season tonight.
- Nene supposedly hurt his left calf against the Pistons, but he isn’t expected to miss any time. Although the Sixers’ front line is pretty thin, Washington will need Nene out on the floor, especially if Wittman opts to bring Marcin Gortat off the bench again.
- Nerlens Noel, who the Sixers traded for on draft night, won’t play tonight. In fact, he might miss the entire season. #TANK
- Everyone’s favorite first overall pick, Kwame Brown, won’t play tonight. Arnett Moultrie will also be out.
Even though it is the 76ers, you can’t just pencil them in as a win, especially since the Wizards lost two of the three games to Philly last season. If the Wizards ever needed to win a game, it would be the one tonight. Virtually everyone on the Wizards roster, including Martell Webster who could seemingly never get upset, isn’t pleased with their lackluster performance on Wednesday.
As Randy Wittman has been preaching since training camp started, the Wizards need to start playing with a purpose. The Wizards put themselves in a hole early on in the game way too often, which has honestly become unacceptable, especially for a team desperately wanting to play in the post season for the first time in half a decade. John Wall and Bradley Beal didn’t look all that great, but thankfully, I don’t expect that to happen very often this season. The 76ers are weak at basically every position, and simply put, the Wizards need to dominate them everywhere.
Washington has the significant advantage over the Sixers from a roster standpoint, and given the fact that it’s their first home game of the season, I expect them to pick up their first win of the season tonight.