[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 80, Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers; contributors: Adam McGinnis and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center, and Conor Dirks from the state of Georgia.]
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 44, Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers; contributors: Conor Dirks, Sean Fagan and Rashad Mobley from the comfort of their own homes.]
[The Wiz Kids celebrate a home win over Philly last season. - photo: A. McGinnis]
Including two preseason contests, the Washington Wizards have already faced the Philadelphia 76ers four times this season (out of 18 total games, including preseason). Tonight represents the fifth meeting, and at that, the Wizards are searching for their first road win in about 300 days (March 13, 2011 against the Jazz in Utah was the last time). You know the drill… three questions, three answers… Tonight we have Jordan Sams from the SB Nation Sixer blog Liberty Ballers, along with TAI’s John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie. Away we go…
#1) In two meetings against the Sixers so far, John Wall has averaged 13 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 6.5 turnovers. His current turnaround, however, started with a great second half in that Jan. 14 Saturday night contest — in the four games since that Sixers matchup, Wall has averaged 25.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 3.5 turnovers. Philly’s own Sweet Lou (Williams) has averaged 21.5 points in 25.4 minutes off the bench against Washington this season. Which player is more likely to get over 25 points tonight and why?
On draft night back in 2010, the Wizards and the Sixers were two bad teams who felt like they had received significant upgrades with the additions of John Wall and Evan Turner respectively. Turner still comes off the bench, but the addition of Doug Collins along the maturation of Jrue Holiday, helped the Sixers reach the playoffs last year, along with a strong 7-3 start this year. The Wizards were back in the lottery last year, and are far and away the worst team in the NBA this season. To put it mildly, the Sixers have passed the Wizards by. These two polar opposites will clash in Philadelphia tonight, but before that Truth About It writers Kyle Weidie and Rashad Mobley, along with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sixers beat writer (and former Wizards beat writer for the Washington Times) John Mitchell answer three questions…
#1) In Kate Fagan’s well-written blog entry on Monday, she broke down the reasons why Philadelphia is playing so well offensively this year. One of the main reasons for the offensive efficiency, is that Doug Collins and his coaching staff realized that his personnel excelled at running the pick-and-roll, and he needed to customize his offense to match their strengths. Given that the John Wall is struggling offensively, and the Wizards as a whole are struggling on offense—they scored just 64 points in a loss to Chicago—should Flip Saunders look to make adjustments to the offense? Or are the Wizards just in a bad shooting slump?
MITCHELL: I honestly don’t know what Flip can do to ignite the offense. John Wall is an electric talent, but he probably played with better talent at the collegiate level than he has in Washington. Nick Young, allegedly and offensive player, was reportedly seeking $9 million annually yet he’s back in Washington hitting just 38 percent of his shots. With the Wizards, the ball too often sticks. That’s not a good thing.
MOBLEY: The Wizards are in a bad slump but it has nothing to do with shooting, and everything to do with where they are mentally. John Wall and Andray Blatche are missing baskets at point blank range. Nick Young, as many times as he keeps the Wizards in the game with his scoring, is still forcing shots. There have been very few possessions for the Wizards this season, where precise passing and patience led to any easy score. If Flip can somehow get this team to do that, the offense would be more efficient.
JaVale McGee had a pretty nice dunk on Josh Smith in Atlanta on Saturday. He also had a pretty nasty dunk on Spencer Hawes last night at home. Both dunks are very close in awesomeness. I have my ever-so-slight favorite, but you be the judge. Watch both and then vote in the poll below.
Arenas had one of his better offensive games of the season against Sacramento on Wednesday night. It was just his fifth game getting to double figures in field-goals made (10), tied for his second most free-throws attempted (12) and third most made (10), only the fourth time he took more than three three-pointers and shot fifty-percent or better (3-6), and his sixth time shooting 45% or better when taking 10 or more shots (.455).
All signs of progress for Gilbert.
Of course, the team is pretty much the same. Last night was the fourteenth time the Wizards have shot below 45% this season (43.2%). They are 1-13 when that happens. It was also the thirteenth time the Wizards have tallied less than 20 assists (13). They are 1-12 when that happens.