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Wizards vs. Sixers Pregame: Some Temporary Relief?

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Philadelphia at Washington

February 5, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

April 8, 2015 – Verizon Center: Wizards 119, Sixers 90


What to watch

Some temporary relief? Let’s hope so. After a grueling five-game stretch where the Wizards lost four and barely won one, capped off by the tumultuous battle against Steph Curry’s Warriors, the Wizards are likely absorbed with a little anxiety and mild panic disorder. Let the 7-win Sixers be their Xanax.

The Sixers have actually won three of their past eight games which is the most consistently successful they’ve been all season. I mean it probably feels like a 10-game winning streak to them. But it’s really not. In fact, they are currently in the middle of a 3-game slide and just got destroyed by the Hawks by 38 points.

Yeah, pop those Xanax pills tonight, Wizards. Alleviate ya’selves.


Key Matchup

Marcin Gortat vs. Jahil Okafor

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“One thing is sure: He’s on my list right now. I’m coming for him.”

That was Marcin Gortat’s vow after the Wiz-Sixers preseason match back in October, a game in which Okafor scored 12 points and hit several tough shots in Gortat’s face early on. Gortat was joking, but he was also serious. And he respects Okafor, comparing him to Al Jefferson, who is another player that Gortat has had tough outings against but respects a great deal. Gortat’s quest for vengeance was meant to be taken in the Wizards’ second preseason game against Philly, but Okafor sat that one out. And so tonight, the two will get their chance to duel it out again, this time in a more meaningful manner.

How has the rookie Okafor fared so far this season? Not too bad. He leads all qualified rookies in minutes per game at just over 30. He’s 7th among rookies in PER at 16.62. His usage rate is second amongst rookies at 24.6, which means we should expect to see quite a bit of him squaring up against Gortat tonight.


X-factor

Denying Ish Smith’s #WizardsKiller application.

In a nutshell, a large one: Ish Smith is a basketball player. Ish Smith has played for a number of basketball teams. Ish Smith was acquired by the Wizards in the preseason. Ish Smith was waived by the Wizards in the preseason. Ish Smith is now a Philadelphia 76er. Ish Smith is a STARTING Philadelphia 76er. Ish Smith has been playing the best basketball of his professional career as a Philadelphia 76er. Ish Smith plays against the Wizards tonight. Ish Smith could be a problem for the Wizards tonight.

Smith has started all 18 games for Philly this year and is averaging 15 and 8, shooting 39% from 3, and commits less than 3 turnovers per game. Combine this with maybe just a tiny spec of vengeance in his heart and you’ve got all the makes of a #WizardsKiller. This game might be a bit bigger than you think, particularly for John Wall.


Fun Factor:

Ah, to hell with Ish Smith and his career year. Let’s remember the time John Wall put this man’s ass on the floor…


Prediction

Overdose on the Xanax, Ish Smith does not kill anything, Wizards promptly defeat Philly.

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