After two tough losses, the Washington Wizards look to get back on track as they host the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly is playing in the second game of a back to back, having defeated the Golden State Warriors 104-97 last night. Washington has now lost two in a row at home after looking unbeatable at the Verizon Center for much of the first month or so of since John Wall returned to action.
Is Washington's homecourt advantage just the product of a string of good luck? Will Nene and A.J. Price return to the lineup and save us from having to watch Trevor Ariza go one on one? Will anyone on the 76ers take a free throw? All of these questions and more will be answered tonight.
Where and when? The Verizon Center at 6 p.m. EST.
Who's out? A.J. Price and Nene remain questionable for Washington, while Cartier Martin and Leandro Barbosa remain inactive due to injuries. The 76ers will play without Jason Richardson and Andrew Bynum. Nick Young missed last night's game against Golden State and is questionable for tonight.
Are they good? Not really. Philly is 23-34 with the point differential of a 21-36 team. As is typical of a Doug Collins-coached team, they defend well (11th in the NBA in defensive rating) and can't consistently score, posting the NBA's third-worst offensive rating.
Why should I care? Because Jrue Holiday versus John Wall is always a great matchup. The two young point guards are similarly big and promising, with Holiday the better shooter and Wall the more explosive athlete.
What are they good at? Philly has the NBA's second lowest turnover percentage (12.5 percent of their plays end in turnovers) and 11th-best defense against isolations according to MySynergySports. In a related story, both Holiday and Turner can run the offense and guard multiple positions, giving Collins an enormous amount of flexibility as far as matchups.
What are they bad at? The 76ers don't get to the line at all. They're dead last in the NBA in free throw attempts per field goal attempt something that, like their low turnover percentage and strength against isolations, can be traced back to the presence of Holiday and Turner. Despite slick handles and at least adequate speed, neither of the 76ers primary ball handlers is good at drawing contact going toward the basket. What makes this even worse is that secondary scorers like Spencer Hawes and Nick Young aren't particularly physical or aggressive going to the basket. Basically, this is a team of guys who love to shoot from anywhere and everywhere but won't show the aggression necessary to earn freebies.
Where can I read more about the 76ers? Check out Liberty Ballers.