Following their first loss in nearly two weeks the first place Philadelphia 76ers look to bounce back tonight when they host the NBA-worst Washington Wizards. The Wizards are 1-9 on the season and 0-5 on the road. They're a bad team, plain and simple. They rank near the bottom of the league in the following categories: assist rate (29th), offensive rebound rate (24th), defensive rebound rate (30th), total rebound rate (30th), effective field goal percentage (30th), true shooting percentage (30th) and offensive efficiency (30th). The only areas where they are somewhat serviceable are turnover rate and defensive efficiency. The Sixers and Wizards played their only two pre-season games against each other this season, with the Sixers winning both by an average of 16 points.
Second-year point guard, John Wall, is always one of my favorite players to watch against the Sixers because I enjoy watching Jrue Holiday go one-on-one with the "superstar", and Evan Turner go up against the only player drafted ahead of him in the 2010 NBA Draft. Wall averaged an impressive 23 points and 11 assists against the Sixers last season, including 3+ steals and an efficient 47 percent from the field. This season however, is a different story – Wall has been abysmal. His PER is 12.4 (15 is league average), his true shooting percentage is .413, he has -0.2 win shares, and averages nearly four turnovers per game.
Andray Blatche is doubtful for tonight's game with a sore right shoulder. Missing Blatche may be a blessing in disguise for the Wiz, because he's also been atrocious this season, and his replacement – Trevor Booker – has been impressive in limited action. Besides Wall – who's always a candidate to have a big game – Booker and McGee could give the Sixers banged up and soft-ish front court problems.
Sixers center, Spencer Hawes, is officially listed as a gametime decision with a lower back injury. If he is unable to go, I assume Tony Battie will receive the starting nod for the second consecutive game, which would leave JaVale McGee salivating.
Neither team played last night so the lockout-induced strenuous schedule will have no effect on the ballgame, despite the Sixers coming off their first tripleback of the season. The Sixers are 13.5 point favorites and should handle the Wizards easily, especially on their home court, where they're 4-0 on the season.