November 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Marcin Gortat, PF- Nene, SF- Trevor Ariza, SG- Bradley Beal, PG- John Wall
C- Spencer Hawes, PF- Thaddeous Young, SF- Evan Turner, SG- James Anderson, PG- Michael Carter-Williams
John Wall v. Michael Carter-Williams
Carter-Williams has been on an absolute tear since breaking into the league a few games back. His near quadruple-double against Miami made national headlines and he has not disappointed since. He is averaging 20 points per game to go with nearly 8 assists and five rebounds. Wall’s numbers have been gone, averaging 19 points per game with 9 assists but he has been a little less consistent. The key to this matchup will be one of the major deciding factors of the game. If Wall can hit some shots early, it will make it much easier for him to set up his teammates and continue his average of nine dimes per outting. Carter-Williams has shown he has the knack to score and do pretty much the same thing Wall does. The dual of these two young stars will set the tempo and pace for the matchup.
The shooting of John Wall and Bradley Beal. The two guards that make up a talented backcourt for the Wizards have struggled to knock down shots. Between a mix of low percentage attempts and not making the extra pass, Beal has gotten off to an awful 32% field goal percentage and Wall is at 42%. While the team has received an unexpected boost from Ariza at the three spot and Gortat seemingly finding his way pretty quickly, they have been badly hampered by the poor play from the backcourt. Whether they get into gear tonight against a Philadelphia team that struggles to defend will be the difference between winning and losing.
Wizards defending shots. Washington is dead last in the league, allowing opponents to knock down over 50% of their shots. That is an absurd statistic and a recipe for ending up in the lottery by the halfway point of the season. Simple math tells you that if you’re giving up 51.5% of shots made to opponents, you’d better shoot at least 52%, and with Wall and Beal struggling, that’s simply not going to happen. Washington has to close out on shots, rotate better, and put some pressure on the Philadelphia backcourt as they bring the ball up the floor. There have been far too many open jumpers given up by this team. Against Miami, it looked like they were missing a body on the floor and were simply being toyed with. Without better defense, the Wizards will get blown out of the building tonight.
What happened last time they played?
The Sixers won a close matchup, 109-102 in Washington. The game was tied through three quarters of play, but the Wizards’ defense was unable to hold Philadelphia in the fourth quarter as they gave up 35 points. Thad Young had a monster game by scoring 29 points and collecting 8 rebounds. All of the Wizards’ starters were able to get into double figures but Beal struggled mightily shooting 4-for-18 en route to scoring only ten points in 36 minutes of play. Trevor Ariza had a solid game with 12 points and 14 rebounds, but it was all for not as Washington was unable to take advantage of the strong performance.
John Wall (back), Nene (calf), and Trevor Booker (finger) are all listed as day-to-day but expected to play tonight. Look for Nene to get fewer minutes than normal. The strong bench help at the forward spot doesn’t require him to get back into full action right away.
Washington has the talent to score enough points on offense to go toe-to-toe with Philadelphia. It’s still not clear whether Philadelphia is the real deal or not. If you recall, many were talking about them tanking the entire season to put themselves in the best possible position to land Andrew Wiggins in the draft. Instead, they rattled off wins against Chicago, Miami and Washington before cooling off against Golden State. Washington will need to do a much better job in defending the pick and roll and closing out on shooters. On offense, they’ll need to get better production from Wall and Beal. It will come down to better shot selection, but even on a more basic level, they’ll just have to make open shots when presented with them. I think Philadelphia bounces back after their first loss of the season and beats Washington by a game that will be close for most of it, but ends up being a ten point Philly win. Sixers take it 114-104 and send even the more optimistic Wizards fans into a panic.