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Game Preview: Sixers visit the Wizards

NBA: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but the Sixers finally have a real, honest-to-goodness winning streak. Three straight games! It still feels surreal to have a team not only winning games, but consistently playing competitively. Trust the Process, indeed.

Naturally, The Process himself, Joel Embiid, has been a huge part of the winning streak, and his absence tonight jeopardizes it on its own. However, TJ’s insertion into the starting lineup, Noel’s return to any sort of lineup, and more consistency across Brett Brown’s rotations have also played roles in stabilizing this Sixers’ team. Jahlil Okafor will return to the lineup tonight, and it will be interesting to see how Brett Brown handles his two centers who have deputized Joel Embiid this season. Given the team’s improved play with Nerlens manning the middle, it is likely he’ll be given the start and Okafor will come off the bench.

The Wizards had a disappointing start to the season after increased expectations saw them hoping to return to the playoffs this year. A strong last month of play has seen them return themselves to .500 play and re-insert themselves into the playoff picture. They sit tied with the Hornets at the bottom of the playoffs in the East, with the potential to move to the 7-seed with a win over the Sixers.

John Wall and Bradley Beal remain the stars for this team, but Otto Porter’s emergence as an important cog has been one of the biggest stories of the season for them. It took him a few years to establish himself within the league, but his well-rounded college game has finally shone through in the NBA. Porter has been an ace perimeter defender and shooter while upping his finishing at the rim to elite territory.

Marcin Gortat continues to man the middle (and will do so until 2036) and has always seemed to frustrate Noel.

The Wizards are fresh off a close loss to the Celtics in which John Wall’s confrontation with Jae Crowder overshadowed the final result.

The game tips off at 8:00pm tonight. The Rights to Ricky Sanchez crew has shown out in style, with F*ck Andrew Sharp T-Shirts and “Bus the Process” happy hours as part of the deal. Maybe JoJo can lead them in a rousing TTP chant as they overwhelm the Wiz fans.

And if you’re a part of the Bus the Process crew, be sure to thank Brett Brown for his generosity. Dude footed the bill for a large chunk of the happy hour and has been nothing but magnanimous during his tenure in Philadelphia.

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