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Sixers head to nation’s capital for afternoon matinee

Afternoon basketball!

Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

For Philadelphia sports fans bummed out by yesterday’s Eagles playoff loss, the good news is we don’t even have to wait until tonight to see a local team back in action. The Sixers are down in D.C. for an afternoon game as part of the league’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day slate of games. There’s a good chance Doc Rivers’ club will change fans’ moods, as they have been playing terrific ball of late. The Sixers have won nine of their last ten, following up a down effort against the Hornets earlier in the week, which broke their seven-game winning streak, with a back-to-back sweep over the Celtics and Heat.

Joel Embiid is putting forth another MVP-caliber campaign. Since his return from COVID in late November, Joel has averaged 29.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks. He has scored 30-plus points in ten straight road games, the fifth longest streak in NBA history. The Wizards are currently playing a three-headed monster at center with Daniel Gafford, Montrezl Harrell, and Thomas Bryant, which means even more opponents for Embiid to dominate. In the last meeting between these teams, Embiid dropped 36 points and goaded Harrell into getting ejected.

Washington will be without Bradley Beal, who is in the league’s health and safety protocols. His absence will be greatly beneficial for a Sixers team low on perimeter defenders at the moment. Danny Green is sitting with his hip injury, Shake Milton remains out with his back injury, and Matisse Thybulle was just diagnosed with a shoulder sprain from his fall against Boston and will be re-evaluated in one week. In Beal’s absence the last three games, Spencer Dinwiddie has stepped up, averaging 22.0 points per game. Additionally, Kyle Kuzma has gone supernova the last few weeks. In January, Kuz is averaging 25.1 points and 11.9 rebounds, including a 27-point, 22-rebound game against the Magic a week ago. With every big Kuzma effort and “Cold as Ice” game from Russell Westbrook, that trade looks even more favorable for the Wiz.

Although Embiid will likely be leading the way, it can’t all be on his shoulders. Tobias Harris had one of his best games of the season in Miami; a follow-up would be very welcome. Seth Curry is coming off back-to-back games with five three-pointers. Tyrese Maxey has been a bit up-and-down on the offensive end lately, but stole Kyle Lowry’s soul on this play Saturday night. Did you catch this, Masai?

Current odds for the game have the Sixers as 2.5-point favorites. Let’s see them make it three in a row and wash the bitter taste of playoff defeat out of our mouths. (Or is that the bitter taste of something else from drowning our sorrows? Who’s to say?)

Game Info

Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards
When: 2:00 pm ET
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Follow: @Liberty_Ballers

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