One of the top teams in the Eastern Conference are in the midst of a bumpy rollercoaster ride having lost five straight games and don’t look half as intimidating as they might have done ten to fifteen games ago. The Washington Wizards (33-25) travel to the city of brotherly love to take on a Sixers team who are panicking more than a kid the night before his final exams. The Sixers, who sit (12-45) coming into the fixture suffered a disappointing loss to the Bucks on Wednesday. After a much improved second half, the team look poised to try and find their first win in six games. But do two negatives make a plus? Will these two struggling teams spark a fire tonight or will Philly fans see yet another game of mediocrity and disappointment?
2015 has been kind to The Sixers thus far, having won 7 of the 13 home games they have played in the opening two months with some big victories along the way. But a lot has changed in those first two months. For instance, the departure of Michael Carter-Williams will still be heavy in fans hearts as the team have effectively ripped out a sturdy Jenga piece to collapse the tower and have to start from scratch. Head Coach Brett Brown has had to dive head first into the deep end and use some questionable trial by fire tactics with his new signings, but instead has found some surprise contributions from players that have been there since the seasons start. With the Wizards being a team that Brown hopes to “emulate” in the future, he may have to do some “wizardry” with his roster tonight by reducing the minutes of Canaan and Smith and instead increasing those of players he may not want to develop but deliver some big numbers.
Philadelphia have a real shot here at capitalising on a big opportunity. The Wizards right now are like a wounded antelope and the Sixers are the chancing hunters. Is the Antelope as bad as we think or is it ready to get up and sprint away not only to safety, but to playoff contention. Only time will tell, but this could be a real scrappy affair.
The Wizards are a team that revolve around one player and one player only. Their unprecedented leader, John Walll. Come win or loss, the star still averages over 15 points per game and he gets a staggering amount of rebounds. The real key to victory for the Sixers here is being able to hold him in check. If they can do this, there is a chance..and it is just that.. a chance, to be come the latest in an increasing list of teams to take down the Wizards consecutively. In the last three games, the Sixers have conceded over 300 points..defensively it’s not looking too good..at all. If Wall is able to break the chains that the Sixers intend on wrapping around him, we may be in for a big scoring game and yet another defeat for Philly.
This one really could swing either way, but with Brown trying so many radical tactical changes the saying is “throw enough mud at a wall and eventually some of it will stick”. He’s had enough time now to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this team and should be wise enough to play it safe. As referenced in my earlier article today, the Sixers are in a rebuilding state. There is no pressure, just working to see what may or may not work for next season. If Wall is contained, I have a feeling the Sixers can sneak a 4th quarter victory.
Final score- 114-122