Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers NBA Pick – January 8th

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!

INJURY REPORT

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

  • JOHN WALL: Out for the season

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

  • WILSON CHANDLER: day-to-day (illness)
  • JIMMY BUTLER:day-to-day (illness)
  • BEN SIMMONS: day-to-day (upper respiratory infection)

PLAYERS TO WATCH

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

BRADLEY BEAL
After a 25-point performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, Beal will try to perform that feat against another quality opponent in the Philadelphia 76ers. With the Sixers blowing leads left and right, and only having a defense of 112.2 PA, the potential is more than there. Beal has been on fire this season, averaging 23.9 PPG and on fire with 47% shooting. He’s also been effective on the glass and in ball movement, averaging 5.0 RPG and 4.8 APG — and this is why he sits with a solid PER of 18.92.
OTTO PORTER JR.
Coming off a 20-point performance himself against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Otto Porter Jr. poses a threat towards the Sixers in both scoring and on the glass. Though not elite, Porter averages a tally of 12.0 PPG, and on magnificent shooting as well: He averages 48% from the field. On the rebounding end, he’s putting up an average of 5.5 RPG on the stat line. On Sunday, he was able to snab a couple of rebounds away from OKC’s Steven Adams, will he be able to do the same thing against Joel Embiid?

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

JOEL EMBIID
Leading the team in scoring, rebounding and just being himself, you know we have to start out with Joel Embiid for the Sixers. Check out the stat sheet: In scoring, he’s been absolutely elite this year putting up a 26.9 PPG tally, and on splendid 48% shooting as well. And if I couldn’t hype up Embiid even more than what he already is, his rebounding total brings him to a double-double average: He averages 13.5 RPG. And he’s also been a joy to watch on defense, holding block party after block party adding 1.9 BPG. And his PER is insane: One of the best at 25.42. Needless to say, Washington has their work cut out for them with Embiid.
JIMMY BUTLER
With Butler returning to practice yesterday and Ben Simmons suffering from illness, I’m assuming the Sixers will sit Simmons and play Butler tonight — which brings Jimmy Butler as our obvious next focus for Philadelphia. And he’s been his typical self in the scoring department, flaming 19.1 PPG into the net. However, Butler isn’t just a scoring nut, he also leaves his mark in the assist game and in rebounding. For the year, he’s been splendid in helping his teammates averaging 3.6 APG, but even more effective on the glass compiling a 4.8 RPG tally. And like his counterpart Joel Embiid, he also posts a PER over 20 with 20.66.

CHECK THE NUMBERS

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

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.

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

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.

POWELL’S PREDICTION

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.

My Picks
WASHINGTON WIZARDS +8.5
Andrew Powell / Author

Andrew Powell has been working with The Sports Geek since November 2018 providing analysis and predictions in both the realms of sports and politics. Studying journalism through the University of Michigan, Powell's experience in sports includes tenures at mainstream newspapers The Williamsport Sun-Gazette and The Lock Haven Express, and he would also be affiliated with FOX Sports Radio 1340 AM in Hopewell, Virginia. In politics, it would include a stint with Mad World News and multiple with the Republican Party. From the Super Bowl to The Kentucky Derby to President Donald Trump's hair, Powell has you covered at The Sports Geek.