The NBA Playoffs are here and the Washington Wizards are part of it! Here’s a preview of Game 1 for tomorrow!
When: Sunday, May 23 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
How to watch: TNT
Wizards: Deni Avdija (Anke, Out); Thomas Bryant (Knee, Out)
The Wizards will travel to Philadelphia for Game 1 of the first round playoff series against the 76ers. Washington is coming off a 142-115 win against the Pacers on Thursday evening to clinch the No. 8 seed in the league new play-in tournament.
The Wizards couldn’t beat the 76ers during the regular season
Washington opened their regular season with a loss against the 76ers back in December and couldn’t pull off wins in the two meetings that followed. Their first two losses weren’t decided by a lot of points but their final regular-season matchup on March 12 resulted in a 26-point blowout. It’s been said that the postseason is a “new season” so expect the Wizards to take that approach Sunday.
Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook can’t do it all by themselves
During the last leg of the regular season, we started to see the Wizards come together in an ‘everybody eats’ manner. The team started to click a bit more, which resulted in a ton of wins. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook will still have to set the tone and lead the team but they have shown this season and even against the 76ers that they can’t do all the work themselves. In their January matchup against the 76ers, Beal put up an impressive 60 points but it still wasn’t enough for a victory. The 76ers didn’t let Beal go off again in the following meeting in March thanks to Matisse Thybulle’s defense.
A week ago the 76ers sat their key players and still won
The 76ers have been plagued with injuries this season and just a week ago, Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, Joel Embiid, Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, and Danny Green sat out against the Orlando Magic. While it’s not expected that all or any will sit out, it’s evident that they are working through various injuries and might not play the minutes they would if they were fully healthy. Even if they don’t, players like rookie Tyrese Maxey, who led his team with 30 points against the Magic, George Hill, Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed, and Shake Milton can make an impact when needed.
Expect Joel Embiid to be a problem
Embiid is leading his team in scoring (28.5), rebounding (10.6), and blocks (1.4) per game. Against the Wizards this season he averaged 30 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists per game. He also went 60.4% shooting against Washington so will have to Gafford, Lopez, and Len will have to work extra in the backcourt.
Sunday will be a BIG SPORTS DAY for D.C. Sports fans!
The Washington Mystics will play the Indiana Fever tomorrow on the road at the same time as the Wizards, which will make some of us have two devices on at the same time for much of the afternoon. Ian Decker has the preview for the Mystics game here.
Wait a minute, we’ll need three.
The Washington Nationals are playing their Beltway series against the Baltimore Orioles at 1 p.m. ET tomorrow as well! Some of us will have three devices on simultaneously!
If you think you’ll get to rest at 4:30 p.m. or so after the Wizards, Mystics and whichever baseball team you root for (after all, many D.C. area baseball fans still like the Orioles more) win, think again.
The Washington Capitals play the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of their first round playoff series at 7 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena in a MUST-WIN GAME!. And there’s STILL MORE!!! DC United plays the Philadelphia Union at 7 p.m. ET ... AT HOME IN AUDI FIELD AS WELL!
Go Wizards and go D.C. sports!