Philadelphia 76ers (23-34, 6-19 Road) vs. Washington Wizards (18-39, 13-17 Home)
Time: 6:00 PM ET
Offensive Rating: 76ers – 98.6 (27th), Wizards – 96.1 (30th)
Defensive Rating: 76ers – 102.3 (12th), Wizards – 100.0 (8th)
Vegas: Washington -5.5
Last night’s mini-recap/tonight’s preview: If the Sixers beat the Golden State Warriors and no one on the Hoop76 staff is there to watch, did the Sixers actually beat the Golden State Warriors?
Tom and I have been at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference learning a bit about the breakthroughs in basketball analytics, so we missed the game last night. The recaps tell me it was a good one. And the box score tells me the Sixers found their solution at shooting guard: Royal Ivey! Apparently when the Sixers shoot 12-of-18 from long distance against a struggling team playing on the second night of a back-to-back, they can win, even when their starting center shoots 0-9. If there’s one thing I learned at the conference, it’s that box scores can tell you everything you need to know.
Tonight, Philly can make it two straight with a road game against Washington. When John Wall is on the floor, the Wizards are a half-decent team. They’re 13-11 since the 2010 first overall pick returned from a knee injury and are now only five games ahead of the Sixers in the lottery race after starting the season 4-28. A strong defense, ranked eighth in efficiency, has anchored the Wizards’ turnaround. Joining Wall in the backcourt is rookie Bradley Beal. He’s been the Wizards’ leading scorer the last few weeks and is coming off a 29-point game against the Knicks. Nene Hilario will likely miss his third straight game with a shoulder injury — Washington is 1-14 when the Brazilian big man is out of the lineup.
Washington coming in: Lost 96-88 to the Knicks at home on Friday.
Three things to watch
1. One Young back, another one down – Thad Young had his post-injury breakout game last night. He scored 14 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in 40 minutes while Nick Young sat out with a bad ankle. It’s unclear whether Nick will suit up tonight, but Royal Ivey will get another start if he doesn’t. The backup pg turned into a 3-point specialist in the victory over Golden State, sinking all four of his 3-pointers and going 6-for-6 from the field.
2. Turner overdrive – ET stuffed the (outdated) stat sheet with 22 points, 10 boards, and nine assists. Haven’t watched last night’s game yet, but I’m guessing Nick Young’s absence helped make the near triple-double possible by giving Turner more opportunities with the ball.
3. Moultrie PT – There was an Arnett Moultrie sighting last night. The rookie played eight minutes in the victory and the team was a +10 when he was on the floor. Before you say, “play him more” it’s worth noting the rumors that he is out of shape. I’m no training specialist, but at the Sloan Conference I did go to this really cool presentation on how algorithms can help predict and maximize athlete performances. Perhaps, Moultrie is less effective when fatigue sets in. That being said, play him more!
Tip is at 6 and I’ll have the reactions after the game.