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Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers
2017-18 NBA Season, 19 October 2017
|Capital One Arena, Washington, DC|
|Washington Wizards||Philadelphia 76ers|
The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 120-115 in Washington DC on Thursday.
The young 76ers exceeded expectations and gave an experienced Wizards squad all they could handle all the way through the match.
All eyes were on Philadelphia’s young core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz and Dario Saric heading into this game. All but Saric performed well, with Embiid and Simmons both turning in very positive displays.
Embiid put up a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds in limited action, while Simmons put up 18 points and 10 rebounds of his own. Both players shot 7/15 from the field.
Forward Robert Covington was the real star for the Sixers, going 7/11 from three en route to 29 points.
As expected, John Wall and Bradley Beal carried the Wizards, scoring 28 and 25 points, respectively. Marcin Gortat helped seal the deal with an excellent stat line of 16 points and 17 rebounds.
The 76ers play in the closing moments of the game will leave them kicking themselves. Down by two with under two minutes to play, Philadelphia turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, effectively robbing themselves of a chance to tie the game.
I’ll chalk that up to pressure getting the best of a young squad, and I expect to see them improve on late-game decision making as the season progresses.
Overall, both teams and their fans should be pleased with their performances. Both squads looked like playoff-calibre teams today.
The Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards will open their NBA campaigns and Ben Simmons will make his long-awaited debut at the Capital One Arena on Thursday morning. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 10am AEDT.
This Eastern Conference matchup will see one of the NBA’s premier talents in Washington point guard John Wall lead his playoff-tested squad against a young Philadelphia team.
With Wall, a dark-horse MVP candidate, supported by sharpshooters Bradley Beal (guard) and Otto Porter (forward), the Wizards will once again be gunning for a top-three seed in the East.
Coach Scott Brooks is looking to take his team to new heights in the playoffs and challenge the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors for the conference title.
Australian basketball fans should be on the edge of their seats for this one as 76ers forward Ben Simmons will take the floor for the first time during the NBA regular season.
He’ll be in the running for the rookie of the year award and is looking to get off to a fast start after missing the last year with an injury.
Playing in the point forward role, he will get plenty of opportunities to run the offence and showcase his highly-touted passing abilities.
Check here for a quick rundown on areas of Simmons’ game that are worth keeping an eye on.
Simmons is surrounded by intriguing talent, with young star centre Joel Embiid hoping to stay healthy for an entire season and new additions such as rookie guard Markelle Fultz and free agent signee guard JJ Redick ready to make a splash early on.
While the 76ers added the aforementioned pieces, the Wizards were quiet during the offseason, making few notable moves beyond the signing of backup point guard Tim Frazier.
This game should be a good litmus test for the unproven 76ers. On paper, Philadelphia has the talent to snatch the seventh or eighth seed in a top-heavy conference this year, but it remains to be seen how well the players mesh together under coach Brett Brown.
Of course, these high hopes are tied almost directly to Embiid’s health, as the injury-prone centre has shown flashes of MVP-caliber talent and is the focal point of the team’s attack.
A strong opening night effort against one of the conference’s elite will be a welcome sight for a Philadelphia fanbase that has endured a lot of losing in the past few seasons.
Philadelphia took last season’s series 2-1 but hasn’t made the playoffs since 2012, while Washington has reached the conference finals in three of the last four seasons.
If Philadelphia’s new additions play well, the 76ers should be able to put up a fight through the first two quarters. However, they will struggle to contain Wall and Beal. Washington’s experience and proven talent will likely see them pull away in the second half.
Wizards by 15.
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