Let's be honest, you don't really care about scouting out tonight's opponent. Tonight, Wizards fans only care about two things:
- Can the Wizards beat 12-45 76ers?
- If they can't, what happens?
So let's not waste time with formalities. We'll give you the key info real quick and dive into it.
Where and When? 7:00 PM at the Wells Fargo Center. You can watch tonight's game on CSN Washington or join the #radioparty on 99.1 WNEW
Who's out? Bradley Beal is still out for Washington. It sounds like he's getting closer to return, but he still needs to get a practice in before the Wizards let him return. Considering the Wizards play again tomorrow night, it's probably fair surmise he won't be back tomorrow, either. But we'll see.
The 76ers are missing Joel Embiid and Tony Wroten, who are both out for the season.
The Wizards are definitely going to end the losing streak tonight, right? Hopefully, but nothing is easy when you're not good. You can play down Philadelphia as much as you want, but compared to the Wizards, they're looking pretty good right now. The 76ers have just as many wins in the month of February as the Wizards do (2) and they actually beat the Hornets this month, something the Wizards weren't able to do this month, even though they got two cracks at it.
And don't forget, unlike the Timberwolves, the 76ers are a basement-dweller that can play some competent defense. They have the NBA's 14th best defense this season. The thing that's held them back is their complete inability to score, which certainly didn't get better after trading away Michael Carter-Williams at the trade deadline. But here's the funny thing: Since the All Star break, the 76ers are averaging 98.8 points per 100 possessions. The Wizards are averaging 91.4.
You'd like to think the Wizards can find a way to out-talent the 76ers tonight, but given their recent results, that's not a given at this point.
Are we overreacting? Probably. Bradley Beal thinks things will be fine. The team is still dining together. And after Wednesday's debacle, the Wizards should be eager to show things aren't as bad as they've looked lately. If the team goes out and puts this one away early, we wouldn't be shocked.
But...does Randy Wittman get fired if the Wizards lose tonight? Losing six straight games, including two straight against the Timberwolves and Sixers, is the kind of thing that can get a coach fired, no doubt about it. But as much as you might want to run Randy Wittman out of town if the Wizards lose tonight, it's probably not going to happen. And the reason why has more to do with practicality than continuity.
The Wizards have a back-to-back tonight and tomorrow night. Firing someone in the middle of two games in two nights would create an even bigger mess than what the Wizards are already dealing with right now. It's like breaking up with someone on the last night of a two-week cruise. As rough as it might be sticking with someone you don't want to be around, it's easier to manage if you wait to get back on dry ground before you make that decision.
Who's going to win tonight? There's been a lot to be negative about lately, but there's still some good here. The game may not be pretty tonight, but they'll do enough to calm everyone down for a little bit. Wizards by 12.