Wizards vs. 76ers preview: Another game, another chance for .500

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards host the Philadelphia 76ers in an MLK Day battle. Here's what you need to know.

The quest for .500 continues. After blowing yet another shot at getting over the hump, the Wizards fell to 19-20 on the year with their loss to the Detroit Pistons. Why does this keep on happening? Why can't they beat just two or three mediocre teams in a row and get some breathing room? When will they get it together? Why is Bradley Beal still taking long twos? What are birds? We just don't know.

I'm sorry. I got carried away. This is just a frustrating team right now, one that looks great one night and pitiful the next. Hopefully they can beat up on a struggling Philadelphia 76ers team and generate a few positive pixels.

Where and when? Tip off is at WHAT THE H!? 2 p.m. at the Verizon Center.

Are they good? After a much ballyhooed and surprisingly hot start, the 76ers have come back down to earth and are now 13-27 on the year. They're not good, but they're also early into a massive rebuilding project and have more picks and prospects than just about any team in the NBA (possible exception is the Celtics). Still, on this day and for right now, they're a bad team and should in theory be one of the easier opponents the Wizards will face.

Who's out? Washington's missing Glen Rice Jr. and Al Harrington, Philly is missing Arnett Moultrie, Tony "Young Larry Hughes" Wroten, Jason Richardson and Nerlens Noel. James Anderson and Brandon Davies are questionable for tonight. Of those guys, Wroten and Noel are the only ones who would be major difference makers for Philly.

What are they good at? Pushing the pace and running off of turnovers. Philadelphia plays at a faster pace than anyone in the NBA and is eighth in the league in opponent turnover percentage. Michael Carter Williams, Thaddeus Young and Wroten have had a lot to do with this, as all three are master ball hawks who are excellent in transition. The team is also helped by having great secondary ball handlers after MC-Dub, with Wroten and Turner capable of running the point in a pinch and thriving with the ball on the break.

What are they bad at? A lot of the stuff that tends to be associated with young players. They don't get to the line (27th in FTA/FGA), turn the ball over a lot (29th in turnover percentage), don't shoot well (27th in eFG%) and struggle on the defensive glass (26th in defensive rebounding percentage). Fortunately, all of these things tend to get better as players age, so these weaknesses should go away on their over the next few years assuming the youngsters improve at all.

Who's going to win? Washington probably gets back to .500 with an easy win tonight. The 76ers always seem to play the Wizards well but Wall should be able to dominate MCW and the frontcourt isn't good enough defensively to make up for this. The only thing that could keep the Wizards from winning is if they underestimate Philly and allow a bunch of easy buckets for players like Young and Spencer Hawes.

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