The Sixers have another opportunity to dispose of a bad team in Washington tonight, and at least retain a share of the division lead in the Atlantic, but is this Wizards team as bad as the one they trounced three times earlier in the season?
I'm finally back from vacation, so I'll be here for the game thread tonight. In my absence, the sky has apparently fallen. The Sixers were 2-1 with a blowout win over the Celts, a blowout win (minus Iguodala) over the Cavs, and a road loss to the Spurs (without Iguodala). Just a terrible three-game stretch, I guess.
The Wizards have lost five straight games, which would lead you to believe they're just as bad as their record says they are, but if you look closely at those five games, they're actually playing decent ball. The five losses came vs. Indiana (2-point loss), vs. Atlanta (3-point loss), at Boston (12-point loss), vs. Detroit (2-point loss) and at Indiana last night (4-point loss). They haven't allowed an opponent to score 100 points on them since the day after the trade deadline (8 games). So while the wins might not be there, the Wizards are certainly playing better ball.
There are probably a couple of reasons for the improved play. Number one, better defenders are getting more minutes. Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker are tremendous defensive upgrades over Nick Young and Andray Blatche. Javale McGee is gone from the middle, but his shot blocking probably isn't as valuable as Nene's 100+ IQ at the five.
Easy hoops aren't going to be as plentiful for the Sixers tonight, but Washington is still a very bad offensive team in their own right. Basically, there are two bad outcomes of a defensive possession for the Sixers. A shot for Nene on the inside and a John Wall layup/trip to the line. Collapse on Nene whenever he touches the ball. Make Wall into a jump shooter, and Washington is helpless on the offensive end.
No word on Andre Iguodala's availability, yet, but they should be able to take this game with or without him. Get the win, keep the lead, and move on.
The tip is at 7pm. This is your game thread. I'll be here throughout join me if you're ready for the stretch run. If the only comment you can come up with is some variation of "The Sixers suck." Go elsewhere. I'm sick of it.
Prediction: PHI 93, WAS 78