76ers vs. Wizards Preview: Reality Bites... Or Does It?

Beneath that baby-faced exterior is a stone-cold killer. - Jamie McDonald

After an improbable 114-110 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers are back on the wagon tonight as they take on the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center. Is a 2-0 start in the cards for the Sixers? Or will John Wall deal Brett Brown's team a dose of reality?

Sunglasses and Advil...
Last night was mad real...

-- Michael Carter-Williams, early yesterday morning (probably)

The events of October 30, 2013 will live in the hearts and minds of Philadelphia 76ers' fans until the end of time. Not only were we witness to the retirement proceedings of one Allen Ezail Iverson, but young Michael Carter-Williams had an NBA debut for the ages (22 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds, nine steals, one middle finger to the haters).

But as fantastic that game was, it was merely the first out of 82 this season, and the 76ers may be faced with a cold dose of reality once they square off against the Washington Wizards tonight at the Verizon Center.

Or, maybe not.

The Sixers won last year's season series against Washington (2-1), and have taken seven of the past nine contests against the Wizards. John Wall and Co. are two days removed from a 113-102 season-opening loss to the Detroit Pistons in which Trevor Ariza (!) led the Wiz with 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Wall, of course, is the name on the marquee for the Wizards, and if Carter-Williams wasn't properly tested by Mario Chalmers in the opener, then tonight will serve as his official initiation into the Association.

Wall isn't the only guard that the Sixers have to worry about, however. After an impressive preseason that saw Bradley Beal average 20.7 PPG and shoot nearly 52 percent from the floor, the second-year SG was just 6-for-18 against the Pistons. He'll prove to be a handful for whichever Sixer is assigned to guard him (don't be surprised to see Tony Wroten log heavy minutes tonight).

So what can we expect tonight? Well... after the events on Wednesday, it's pretty hard to say. It's clear that this Sixers' team is going to give maximum effort every time they take the court, and their energy and athleticism should keep them in games more often than not.

That said, this Wizards' game should serve as a measuring stick of sorts. The 76ers clearly aren't a playoff-caliber team by any stretch, but if they cruise to a road victory tonight, then maybe they're better than we all thought.

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