The NBA is back in action as thirteen games are up on the board throughout Wednesday night. One of these games to help kick off the new season will be between the Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers. These two teams had opposite seasons last season, but will look to jump out to an early win on December 23. This game will tip off 7:00 PM Eastern time.
Washington finished out last season with a record of 25-47, which put them in tenth place of the Eastern Conference. The Wizards got a chance to earn a playoff spot in the qualifiers in August, but went 1-7 before being sent home when the playoffs start. Washington made some moves throughout this offseason, which could help bring them into contention in the East this season.
The 76ers earned a record of 43-30 throughout last season, which had them in sixth place of the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia met up with the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs and were swept in four games. The 76ers will look to start out this season better as they try to get back into the top half of the Eastern Conference after making the East Semifinals two seasons ago.
These two teams had opposite seasons last campaign, but the beauty of a new season has them on even playing fields. The Wizards and the 76ers both looked to revamp their lineups throughout the offseason, which they will look to boost them to an early season win. I expect both teams to come out fast in this one as they try to control the pace to earn a win.
The Wizards and the 76ers met up three times throughout last season. The first meeting was in Washington on December 5. Tobias Harris dropped 33 points, while Joel Embiid had 26 points and 21 rebounds. Rui Hachimura scored 27 points and Bradley Beal dropped 26 points and 10 rebounds. Davis Bertans finished with 25 points as the Wizards won 119-113.
The second meeting of the season series was in Philadelphia on December 21. Bradley Beal finished with 36 points, while Isaiah Thomas put up 20 points. Josh Richardson and Joel Embiid both finished with 21 points on the night. The 76ers starting lineup combined for 85 points as Philadelphia was able to bounce back with a 125-108 stomping of the Wizards.
The final meeting of this season series was in the qualifiers on August 5. Thomas Bryant had 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Jerome Robinson had another 19 points. Joel Embiid had 29 points and 11 rebounds. Tobias Harris added 18 points, while Josh Richardson and Shake Milton both put up double digit points. Philadelphia was able to earn a 107-98 win to help seal the Wizards playoff fate.
These two teams met up three times throughout last season, with the 76ers winning two of the three games. Washington was able to pull off the early season upset over Philadelphia, but were not able to come close in the other two games. The Wizards will look to shake things up early in this season though with an upset over the 76ers on Wednesday night.
Bradley Beal helped lead Washington throughout last season. He averaged 30.5 points and 6 assists per game. The Wizards added Russell Westbrook in the offseason, who averaged 27 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists per game with the Rockets last season. Washington still has Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Ish Smith and Troy Brown Jr., who all averaged over 10 points per game last season.
Joel Embiid was one of the leaders for the 76ers last season, averaging 23 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Tobias Harris had a good season, averaging 19.5 points per game as well. Ben Simmons finished last season, averaging 16.5 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds per game. Philadelphia brough in Seth Curry, Danny Green and Dwight Howard to help lead out the 76ers depth.
Both of these teams added some players in the offseason to help improve the lineup. The Wizards made a big move in moving on from John Wall and adding Russell Westbrook. Westbrook will look to compliment Bradley Beal after he put up a great season last season. The 76ers addressed their depth issues in the offseason in hopes of making a better push in the Eastern Conference.
Field Goal Shooting Last Season
The Wizards were not great at shooting from the field last season, which they hope to address with Westbrook’s passing ability and athleticism. Washington made 45.7 percent of their shots from the field, which was 21st in the NBA. The Wizards had a good three point shooting percentage, making 36.8 percent, which was 8th in the league. Washington made 50.6 percent of their shots in close, which was 26th in the NBA.
Philadelphia was a dangerous team when shooting last season. The 76ers were able to make around 46.8 percent of their shots from the field, which was 10th in the league. Philadelphia also made 36.8 percent of their shots from deep, which was 9th in the NBA. The 76ers were middle of the pack in close, making 52.4 percent of their shots inside the arc.
The 76ers were a better shooting team last season, but Washington hopes to improve upon that this season. Westbrook can open up the floor with his playmaking ability, which could help the Wizards spread the floor more. Westbrook also plays great defense, which can help a Washington team that was near the bottom of the league in field goal shooting against them a season ago.
Washington comes into this one with a much improved roster on the court. The Wizards saw their playoff hopes come and disappear in August with the qualifiers. I expect Washington to come out hot in this one as they try to make a push for the playoffs this season. Philadelphia struggled at times throughout last season and will hope that their offseason moves can be enough to get them back to the top.
BetOnline has the 76ers listed as a -7 against the spread on Wednesday night. This gives a solid edge to Philadelphia to open up the season. I believe that this line should be smaller because the Wizards have not proven to be the struggling team from a season ago. I think Washington has new life with Beal and Westbrook leading their roster, which makes them an enticing pick for December 23.