After getting a solid win against the Western Conference’s Oklahoma City Thunder 116-98 on Sunday, the Washington Wizards (16-24) are attempting to get a second straight victory on the road over another playoff team: the Philadelphia 76ers (26-14).
Bradley Beal was a monster in that game, putting up 25 points — this to go along with 20 from Otto Porter Jr. and 16 from Jeff Green. What makes the offensive production such a big deal is that this is coming without the Wizards’ All-Star point guard John Wall. Wall is out for the season due to surgery on his heel.
Here’s another interesting tidbit about Washington: They’re now 9-0 on the season when they’re able to land more rebounds than their opponent.
But let’s get to said opponent, who have 17 wins already on the year at home in Philadelphia. They won again on Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks 106-100, courtesy of Ben Simmons’ sixth triple-double of the year (which ranks 2nd in the NBA). Joel Embiid also added power, putting up 25 points and 12 rebounds.
What also makes the Sixers such a force is that they’re doing this without Jimmy Butler as well, who has been out two straight games due to a upper respiratory infection. There’s also been alleged chemistry issues, with reports saying that Butler and head coach Brett Brown are clashing from behind the scenes.
However, despite the issues, winning isn’t one. They’ve gone 17-8 since acquiring Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and are currently on a three-game winning streak without him as well.
But here’s the problem for the Sixers tonight: This season, Philadelphia has had a history of building up substantial leads, and then having to pull out a close one after blowing them.
Can the Washington Wizards take advantage and pull another upset?
We have the potential for an entertaining one tonight!
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Here’s some bad news for Wizards fans, and I’m sure you guys already knew this: Not only are you on the road, but you’re also lacking in every statistical category compared to Philadelphia. On the offensive side, Washington is pulling down 112.7 PPG on 46.3% shooting. With a +/-4 margin, the Wizards’ defense hasn’t been the most elite sitting at 116.4 PA. And here’s the scariest thing going against the Sixers: They only collect 40.8 RPG.
On Philadelphia’s side, it’s a statistical galore compared to the Wizards. In offensive production, the 76ers hold a +2 advantage putting down 114.4 PPG on 46.7 FG% — they only have a +0.4 edge in that department. In ball protection, the grip goes up to +4 with a tally of 112.2 PA. And here’s the biggest advantage that should get Philadelphia the victory at home: They’ve been absolutely elite on the glass this season racking up a total of 47.6 RPG.
The road factor may not make a difference. As I previously mentioned, Washington did take out the Western Conference 3rd-place Oklahoma City Thunder on the road on Sunday. As a matter of fact, they dominated them by a score of 116-98. But a couple of nights before, the Wizards did lose to the Miami Heat — a team obviously not as stellar as OKC.
With John Wall out for the season, I do see the Wizards having a hard time having consistent winning streaks — especially against quality teams like Philadelphia. Though I can say I like what I’ve been seeing from Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr., even Jeff Green, since Wall has been out. The problem is, I can also see Porter’s rebounding being cancelled out due to the elite ability of Joel Embiid — that obviously leaves Beal at the helm by himself.
On the road, having no statistical edge, without John Wall, being faced with Embiid and so on… I understand they upset Oklahoma City, but I’m calling a fluke. Sixers win, but don’t be surprised to see another blown lead from Philadelphia against the potency of Beal and Co.