Stating the obvious, but the Sixers need to bounce back quickly from their tough road loss to the Knicks. They never gave up in New York, even though they had every reason to do so, now they need to get those excuses out of their minds. They need to collect themselves, take a breath, and get right back to blowing teams away when they face the Wizards tonight.
It would be rote to say the Sixers just need to allow the Wizards to beat themselves, no matter how true it is, so let's try to take a closer look at what makes the Wiz so bad.
Defensively, they really aren't bad at all. They're 11th in the league in defensive efficiency (101.6 points-per-100-possessions), which is not only respectable, but almost a 10% improvement over last season. Offensively, they're the worst team in the league, and that's in no way an exaggeration.
When looking for the cause of their offensive ineptitude, you'd be wrong in checking out the turnovers first. They're actually middle-of-the-road in coughing the ball up. The explanation is actually much simpler than that. They just can't shoot. They can't shoot threes, they can't shoot twos, they're barely passable at the line. Their poor shooting is most likely a direct result of their collective lack of...well, intelligence. John Wall is leading the charge of guys who can't shoot to save their lives, yet keep chucking up bad shots. The prematurely-anointed super star is shooting 33.8% from the floor and 0% from three. To his credit, he's only attempted five three pointers, which makes the 33.8% even more disturbing. The best stat for Wall is his 4.6 attempts from 16-23 feet, which he's converting at 22%.
As bad as Wall has been, ah, nevermind, Blatche hasn't even been as bad as Wall, though he's been pitiful in his own right. Blatche is attempting 5.6 long twos per game, but he's at least above 30% (36%, to be exact).
Here's my key for the game: Keep Javale McGee off the offensive glass. McGee has killed the Sixers in the past simply be out-jumping them for o-boards. When a jumper goes up (and this is going to happen nearly every time down the floor), find McGee and put body or two on him. Dare Wall, Blatche and Nick Young to shoot long twos, they'll take the bait and shoot it early.
No word yet on Hawes' availability. Even if he's maybe ready to go tonight, I'd give him the extra day of rest because you probably aren't going to want him to come back and play back-to-backs on the first two days. Play it safe, I think they can probably get the win without him.
The tip is at 7pm tonight. Game thread will be up at 5.