When: Friday, March 12 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington
Wizards: Bradley Beal (Knee, Questionable); Ish Smith (Quad, Out); Thomas Bryant (Knee, Out)
76ers: Ben Simmons (COVID-19 protocols, Out); Joel Embiid (COVID-19 protocols, Out)
The Washington Wizards (14-21) are facing the Philadelphia 76ers (24-12) Friday for a third time this season. The Wizards were unable to pull off victories in their December and January games against Philadelphia. The 76ers shot terribly from downtown (28.6%) in the Wizards’ December season opener but Joel Embiid’s 29 points, Ben Simmons’ 16 points, and Shake Milton’s 19 off the bench helped propel the team towards a win. In Philadelphia’s January victory, Embiid scored a team-high 38 points and had an even better night in the frontcourt, averaging 62.1 percent from beyond the arc and 61.7 from the field.
This time around, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will both miss Friday’s game due to COVID-19 contact tracing. Embiid is leading the 76ers in scoring (30.2) and rebounding (11.6). Ben Simmons is third on the roster with 16.1 points per game. Without this duo, the Wizards have a good chance at pulling off a win but they’ll have to be in sync as it’s just their second game back together from the All-Star break. It really comes down to who is going to help out Russell Westbrook, who is averaging 20.3 points per game, and Beal, who continues to lead the league in scoring with 32.5 points per game.
In the Wizards’ recent loss to the Grizzlies, Beal did lead with 21 points but it wasn’t pretty. He struggled shooting 27.3% from the field. Westbrook, on the other hand, went 10-19 from the field and finished the night with 20 points. The only players to score in double figures were Davis Bertans, Deni Avdija, and Rui Hachimura and it certainly wasn’t enough in their 15-point loss to Memphis. It’s going to take a village with these Wizards...