The Sixers will take on the Wizards tonight at the Verizon Center in our nation’s capital. Both teams enter the contest on three-game losing streaks, including dropping both ends of back-to-backs on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Philadelphia is coming off of a 23 point home loss to Atlanta, while Washington last suffered a 5 point defeat at the hands of a Miami Heat team resting LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Miami snapped what had been a nine game home winning streak for the Wizards.
This is the third meeting between the teams this season, each having won their home contest in the series.
Despite the recent struggles of these lottery-bound teams, tonight’s point guard match-up will be a treat to watch. The Wizards’ John Wall has been playing some excellent basketball lately, while the Sixers’ Jrue Holiday has been trying to pull himself out of a recent slump.
Holiday admitted earlier in the season that his squad tends to play down to their competition, but despite Washington being a 29-win team, their excellent play at home and no. 1 overall pick point guard will hopefully be enough to get the Sixers amped up for this one.
An important key to this game will be the winner of the Wall vs. Holiday match-up. Holiday has been letting his struggles on offense affect his defense a bit lately, which he cannot afford to do against the Wizard’s star point guard who scored 47 points against Memphis a couple of weeks back.
The play of Spencer Hawes will also be vital, as he is coming off two weak performances in Brooklyn and vs. Atlanta. The team clearly is much better on both ends of the floor when Hawes plays well, as he did during the month of March.
Rebounding and defending the paint are two key points that have eluded the Sixers of late. Nene will have a field day on the boards if the Sixers continue to struggle in this fashion. He averages 6.6 rebounds per game, but has averaged 8.5 in two games against Philly this year.
Another interesting story line about this game is Washington’s documented strive for the 9-seed, a team goal that they set a few days back. With a win tonight, the Sixers would clinch finishing the season with a better record than the Wizards, thus officially eliminating them from reaching this goal. Not a huge achievement for the Sixers, but in a season like this, little things are often needed to maintain motivation.
This game will be the final home game of the season for the Wizards, who will finish up on the road in Brooklyn and Chicago.
The Sixers will play their final home game on Sunday against Cleveland, then finish their season on a two-game road trip featuring stops in Detroit and Indiana.
Although the implications of this game are minimal, it will be nice to see if Holiday can play well when facing the future star power of John Wall. This will certainly be a battle for years to come.
Tip-off is at 7 PM.