As the season has progressed, it has become more and more difficult to expect how the Sixers will show up on a nightly basis. Their most recent disappointing effort was in the loss against the shorthanded Atlanta Hawks just three days ago. Despite the Sixers entering the game as 11 point favorites, the Hawks held control of the game from just about start to finish and handed the Sixers their 16th loss of the season.
Looking ahead to today’s game, the Sixers now have a slightly tougher task against the Wizards. This game will take place in Washington and the Wizards come into the matchup on the heels of back-to-back wins. The Sixers are still looked at as the favorites in the matchup and are favored by 3.5 points heading into the game.
Washington Wizards (17-15)
Early on in the season, the Wizards have exceeded expectations and even jumped out to a 10-3 start. Washington had an effective offseason by adding Spencer Dinwiddie, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell who have all proved to be impactful additions to the team. Just like just about every team in the NBA, the Wizards have also had some tough breaks with injuries and Covid so they will come into this game shorthanded.
- Bradley Beal- OUT (Health and Safety Protocols)
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope- OUT (Health and Safety Protocols)
- Thomas Bryant- OUT (knee)
- Rui Hachimura- Questionable (conditioning)
Bradley Beal is obviously the biggest note here as much of the team’s style of play is built around their superstar. The 28-year-old is having somewhat of a down year but is still averaging 23.3 points per game. Expect Spencer Dinwiddie to take a larger role in the offense in Beal’s absence.
Another storyline to watch in this game is the battle on the boards as neither team excels at rebounding. The Wizards currently rank 25th in the league in total rebounds per game while the Sixers are 28th in this category. When looking at offensive rebounds per game, the Wizards rank 25th while the Sixers are 30th (last) in the NBA.
Outlook for Sixers
The Sixers seem to be trending upward for getting players healthy, but it was surprising to see Tyrese Maxey and Georges Niang appear back on the injury report under health and safety protocols. Both Maxey and Niang were at the Sixers shootaround this morning and are expected to suit up tonight.
It is also worth noting that Joel Embiid was absent from the Sixers shootaround this morning due to a non-COVID illness. Keith Pompey reports that Embiid is still expected to play his regular minutes tonight and that this is just some extra rest to ensure his availability. Unfortunately, the Sixers seemingly need Joel Embiid to play at an extremely high level in order to have a chance to win just about every game.
This is a fairly important matchup for potential seedings as the Wizards are in 6th place in the East with the Sixers one game behind them in 7th. Without Bradley Beal, this should not be a game that troubles the Sixers, but they have had far worse losses already this season. Look for the Sixers to shake off the holiday sluggishness and find a way to get a win.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire