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Wizards vs. 76ers preview: Washington hosts Philadelphia on the second day of Christmas

The Wizards have a chance to extend their winning streak to three.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards
It’s time for another game.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards host the Philadelphia 76ers tomorrow night at Capital One Arena. Here’s the preview:

Game info

When: Sunday, Dec. 26 at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington

How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

How to listen: The Team 980 AM, 106.7-2 FM

Injury Report

Wizards: Corey Kispert (Day-to-day); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope; (health and safety protocols, Out); Bradley Beal (health and safety protocols, Out); Rui Hachimura (Non-injury related, Out); Thomas Bryant (Knee, Out)

76ers: Ben Simmons (unwilling to play with the team though I don’t blame him, Out); Andre Drummond (health and safety protocols, Out); Shake Milton (Ankle, Out); Georges Niang (health and safety protocols, questionable); Tyrese Maxey (Quad, questionable)

What to watch for

The Wizards will be playing on several days’ rest as they host the 76ers on the second day of Christmas (formally known as St. Stephen’s Day). They have already won two games in a row, including last Thursday against the Knicks without Bradley Beal, who has the coronavirus for the second time in six months. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot of ball movement like we did last game as well.

Some other things to note:

  • The Wizards are doing well without Beal — Last year, the Wizards were 2-10 in games without Beal. This season, they are 4-0 in games without him. The wins are not against the best NBA teams (Pacers, Magic, Pelicans, Knicks), but this is still an interesting stat.
  • The Wizards are doing well when Avdija plays more — Another interesting stat is that the Wizards are 6-0 when Avdija plays 27 minutes or more. Again the sample size is small, but this time the wins came against Memphis, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Miami, Utah, New York. As you can see this spans 4 games with Beal and 2 without Beal. We’ll have more on this tomorrow.

The Sixers lost today to the Atlanta Hawks, 98-96, and are just 16-16. After being the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season, this team has been disappointing to the pundits. Hopefully, the Wizards can take advantage of the momentum tomorrow night.

Soooo.... off topic. But hopefully the Wizards give Kathleen Fitzpatrick a free ticket for this game! EVEN IF SHE IS FROM PHILLY!

St Joseph v George Washington
Kathleen Fitzpatrick (L) was a four year college player at St. Joseph’s and later, at Rutgers. Now, she’s everyone’s favorite third grade teacher in the DMV and ... nationwide!
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

It seems that the stars are aligning themselves just right with the Wizards playing the 76ers tomorrow. That isn’t because of a hypothetical Bradley Beal for Ben Simmons trade, which I don’t want by the way. It’s that a Philly native (and former college basketball player) was the talk of the DMV earlier this week because of a full court shot she made on an elementary school court.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, who hails from Drexel Hill, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, played D-I basketball at St.Joseph’s (2013-16) and finished as a redshirt senior at Rutgers in 2017-18. During her career, she was on a 2013-14 St. Joe’s team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament and was a regular starter for the Hawks in her sophomore and junior seasons where she was known as a reliable three-point shooter. She led the Hawks in three-pointers made as a sophomore and junior.

You’ll be familiar with one of Fitzpatrick’s teammates, namely Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud!

St Joseph v George Washington
Natasha Cloud was one of Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s teammates at St. Joe’s.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Anyway, most college basketball players do NOT go on to have long professional careers after graduating, even D-I players like Fitzpatrick. Today, she is a third grade teacher who’s better known as Ms. Fitz at Holy Trinity School in the Georgetown neighborhood here in D.C.

Earlier this week at recess on Friday, Dec. 17, Fitzpatrick promised her class free hot chocolate the next day if she made a full court shot. She put her college playing experience to work — and it set up one of the great moments in D.C. sports history.

Bet you most, if not all of Ms. Fitz’s students didn’t know she’s played big-time college games. And she even made a buzzer-beating three to finish a half against Maryland, a local team some of these students’ parents may have gone to!

In summary, I can’t stop watching the shot.

I hope the Wizards reach out to Ms. Fitz for a free ticket to this game. Or maybe better yet, a field trip to Capital One with her class!

Go Wizards!