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Sixers seek fourth straight victory tonight against Washington

Have the Sixers officially shaken off their start-of-the-season funk?

Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

In what is undoubtedly the most eagerly anticipated sporting event in South Philadelphia tonight, the Philadelphia 76ers will square off against the Washington Wizards for the second time in three days, seeking their fourth straight win. The Sixers have recently dispatched the Raptors, Bulls, and these same Wizards, and contrary to patterns established in prior seasons, two of those wins came without Joel Embiid available.

Embiid is questionable tonight due to the non-COVID illness that caused him to sit out Monday night. Whether or not he plays, you would like for the team to adopt the tendencies they bring to the floor when he has not been on the court. Without Joel, the ball movement is crisper, there’s move off-ball activity, the defensive rotations seem sharper.

The Sixers vastly increased their pick-and-roll usage Monday to great success. Why not do the same, but involve the the best scoring center in the league? I’ve never understood why the Sixers don’t just spam Harden-Embiid pick-and-rolls until the opponent discovers some way to stop it.

James Harden was excellent Monday against Washington, first as a scorer and then as a facilitator when the Wizards started selling out to stop him. His 17 assists were a season-high for anyone in the league. There’s no reason he can’t do something similar tonight. Tyrese Maxey continued his glow-up to All-Star consideration, scoring 28 points Monday to bring his average up to 23.3 points per game on the young season. Regardless of who is in the line-up, we need at least one turn in the rotation each half when Maxey is handed the keys to the offense. The kid is ready to drive.

The supporting cast is also starting to round into form. De’Anthony Melton has been excellent as a two-way force of late. I’d expect plenty more minutes from him tonight given his strong performance in guarding Bradley Beal earlier this week in the nation’s capital. Georges Niang is 7-of-11 from behind the arc over the past two games. This was one purported advantage of the improved depth brought in this offseason: keep rolling up wins throughout the regular season even if a star is unavailable or needs a rest day to stay healthy.

Nothing should be different for either lineup aside from Embiid’s possible return to action. Corey Kispert (ankle) and Delon Wright (hamstring) remain out for Washington. The game is at 6pm with the Phillies hosting World Series Game 4 across the parking lot. Some of the guys were in attendance last night for Game 3, hopefully soaking up what this city will look like with a title almost within its grasp.

No longer the sacrificial lamb for Philadelphia sports, the Sixers appear to have turned the corner and begun rounding into form. Let’s hope that holds and we can enjoy tonight’s appetizer before Aaron Nola takes the mound.

Game Details

Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards
When: 6:00 pm ET
Where: The Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Follow: @LibertyBallers

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