After dropping Saturday’s game against the Detroit Pistons that would’ve put them above .500, the Washington Wizards will continue their homestand against the struggling Philadelphia 76ers on Martin Luther King Day in hopes of regaining their .500 record. The game will tip off at 2:00 PM from the Verizon Center.
Key Match Up:
The 76ers weren’t constructed to win very many games this season, but rookie Michael Carter-Williams has emerged as a top player amongst his draft class, giving Sixers fans much hope for the future. The Syracuse alum is averaging about 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists this season and he’s undoubtedly on pace to become this season’s NBA Rookie of the Year. He’s struggled in the past 5 games though, 4 of which have resulted in losses for the Sixers, so he’s due for another big game sooner rather than later. Carter-Williams has struggled with his shot this season, mostly because defenses have loaded up on him, forcing his teammates to step up, so the Wizards have to try and force him to shoot from the perimeter. He’s shooting about 40% from the field and just 28% from 3-point territory, and I’m sure the Wizards will live with any shots he knocks down from the outside.
With that said, Michael Carter-Williams and the Sixers have beaten the Wizards this season on the road and John Wall has to make sure they don’t repeat that performance on Monday. Wall is coming off a 34-point game in a losing effort to Detroit, so the Wizards have to find a way to secure the win at home. Like virtually every other point guard in the NBA, Carter-Williams is going to have trouble keeping up with John Wall, and the Wizards have to take advantage of the mismatch. Carter-Williams is the best rookie point guard in the NBA, but Wall’s experience and athleticism should be enough to overwhelm him. If Wall keeps Carter-Williams out of the paint, not allowing him to create for his teammates, he should be able to lead the Wizards to a win. He also has to find a way to score despite Carter-Williams’ length. It should definitely be a fun match up between the two guards.
- According to ESPN, the Sixers have lost 6 of their last 7 by an average of 18+ points.
- Philadelphia is ranked at the bottom 10 in defense, while having the 2nd worst offensive efficiency in the NBA.
- Washington was outrebounded by Detroit on Monday, and the Sixers are 9th in rebounds per game. Trevor Booker is questionable with a sprained ankle, so Nene and Marcin Gortat have to do a better job on the glass.
- Randy Wittman opted to play an 8-man rotation again on Saturday, but I think we’ll see Otto Porter, Kevin Seraphin, and Jan Vesely get some playing time against Philadelphia.
The Wizards have to find a way to get over the .500 mark before heading out on a brutal west coast road trip and it all starts against the 76ers on Monday. Even though the Sixers will be the underdogs, they do have a resilient group of players on their roster. Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young, and Evan Turner have all had good seasons thus far and they’re certainly capable of competing with anybody in the NBA. They’ve beaten teams like the Portland Trail Blazers this season and the Wizards can’t overlook them at home.
If Washington comes prepared, I can’t see how they’ll end up losing to the Sixers at home. They should’ve beaten the Pistons, and they have to beat teams with below .500 records at home. John Wall and Bradley Beal should be able to score at will against Philadelphia’s atrocious defense, which should be enough to win the game. Nene and Marcin Gortat will have the upper hand against Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes.
I think the Wizards will get a comfortable win against the Sixers.