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Series One. Game One. Sixers open against Wizards

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Let .. us .. begin .. the path laid forth!

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

We made it, Philadelphia 76ers fans!

It’s here. It’s happening. It has begun.

The 2021 playoffs run is upon us. If you need to get any more hype than you already are, then I suggest you view the @DidtheSixersWin “Process Avengers” video that went up Friday.

After their win over the Indiana Pacers, the Washington Wizards will be first up on the road to a potential NBA Finals berth. After their 118-100 loss to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, the Wizards beat the Pacers, 142-115, to secure the 8-seed.

They did that behind 25 points from Bradley Beal to go along with Russell Westbrook’s 18 points, 15 assists and 8 rebounds. The Wizards shot close to 60 percent from the field in that game and 50 percent from 3. If the Wizards are playing well, they can score with the best of them with Beal and Westbrook.

After that, however, this question has been circling throughout Liberty Ballers Twitter: “Who is the third-best Wizards player?”

Is it Dāvis Bertāns? He’s as deadly as they come from deep when he’s hitting from outside, but he’s had a down year. His points per game has dropped to 11.5 from 15.4 last season. He’s still a 40 percent shooter from deep, but he’s closer to 40 percent than 45 percent. That’s a bit of a difference, but he is still to be respected.

Is it Daniel Gafford? That would be my pick, but he (much like anyone in the NBA) will have a helluva time defending Joel Embiid. Gafford doesn’t give you a ton of versatility on the offensive end, so if your third-best player is a “one way” tool … you should be a little concerned.

The Sixers have done very well against the Wizards this season, sweeping all three games and scoring over 110 points per game in those contests. (Yeah, the Wizards don’t really play defense. They’re dead last in opponent’s PPG and 19th in DRtg.)

Very few teams have the defensive capability to guard both Beal and Westbrook, but the Sixers are fully prepared with some combination of Ben Simmons, Danny Green, and Matisse Thybulle. This series will serve as a good way to gauge how the Sixers will defend wing/guard tandems in future series going forward.

The Wizards don’t have the depth to compete if the Sixers are at full strength and hitting at every level of the court. That being said, it’s important for the Sixers to get out, get up, and stay up. Don’t let the Wizards capitalize on the momentum of getting the 8-seed and steal Game One at the Wells Fargo Center.

Let’s get it, boys and girls!

**BRUCE BUFFER VOICE**

“IT’S TIIIIIIIIIME!!!”

Game Info

Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards
When: 1:00 pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: TNT, NBC Sports Philadelphia
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic
Follow: @Liberty_Ballers