The Sixers are in the midst of a three-game losing streak for the second time in this young season. After being embarrassed at home against the Mavericks minus Luka Doncic, the Sixers look to rebound. The Sixers have a good chance to as they’ll be facing the 8-19 Washington Wizards.
The Wizards are not having the season they hoped for but there are still reasons for excitement. Bradely Beal is a bona fide star, Rui Hachimura is a promising rookie, and the rest of the team is filled out with cheap contributes who could be traded for future assets. The glaring issue is the defense. The Wizards are giving up an NBA worst 121.8 points per game. This SHOULD be an easy game to reestablish the offense, but that’s not guaranteed. Even though the Wizards are far below .500, the Sixers can’t afford to take them lightly.
The Wizards are currently undefeated against the Sixers this season winning the lone match-up. The team and specifically Coach Brett Brown will need to be focused tonight to claim what for many other teams would be an easy win.
Key to the game
There is one key to tonight’s game that is so key, it demands near-total focus. While the Wizards play horrendous defense, the Sixers don’t have a roster capable of winning a shootout. Embiid and Harris can get hot in spurts but this team will have a real problem if they don’t defend well. Contrary to the Wizards, the Sixers are actually a very good defensive team. The Sixers currently rank 5th in the NBA in opponent points per game giving up 104.6. The Sixers have the personnel to defend this team but will need to be driven in order to succeed.
The two top targets are Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, two players who are lethal from outside. Beal will be an especially tough target as he can attack you in a few different ways. Most likely, Beal will be Ben Simmons’ responsibility as Simmons is far and away the teams’ best on-ball defender. As for Bertans, you can practically take him out of the game if you limit his three-point shots. Bertans takes a health 8.7 shots from deep per game and hits an incredible 44.7% of his shots from there. Tobias Harris is actually a good defensive match-up as he is quicker than Bertans and is tall enough that he can’t be shot over top of.
The Sixers will get right tonight against the Wizards and get the win at home. The game will be fun for the fans there because there will be points in bunches. Expect Joel Embiid to continue the hot streak and possibly even have another 20-20 game.
FINAL SCORE: WIZARDS 113 – SIXERS 119
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM EST with coverage beginning at 6:30. Catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or listen live at 97.5 FM the Fanatic.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports