Fri, Mar 12, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Philadelphia 76ers (25-12, 9-9 away) visit the Washington Wizards (14-21, 7-10 home) on Friday, March 12, at 8 PM ET. The Sixers hold a half-game lead on the Brooklyn Nets in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings.
Philadelphia has won three in a row, including a dominating 127-105 victory over the Chicago Bulls in their first game following the All-Star break last night. If the Sixers want to remain atop the standings they will need to take advantage of lesser teams like the Wizards.
The Sixers have won the first two games in the three-game regular-season series against the Wizards by scores of 113-107 and 141-136. It seems like the Wizards tend to give the Sixers a run for their money, making things too close for comfort late in games.
The Wizards lost their first game following the All-Star break, 127-112 against the Memphis Grizzlies, and have 6-4 in their last 10 games played overall. Washington finds itself four games behind the Miami Heat for first place in the Southeast Division but just two games out of the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Sixers boast a 19-6 record against Eastern Conference opponents, while the Wizards are just 5-14 in the same category. However, Washington has played well in games decided by three or fewer points, going 7-2 this year.
In their most recent meeting, Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 38 points, while Bradley Beal led all scorers with 60 in the Wizards’ loss.
It could get dicey tonight for the Sixers, who are again without Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid for COVID-19 health protocols. The Wizards injury list is just as concerning, with Ish Smith out because of a quad injury and Thomas Bryant out for the year with a left knee injury. Beal is listed as day-to-day with a knee injury.
Simmons and Embiid were named to the All-Star team but could not play because they were exposed to COVID-19 by their personal barber. Both players missed All-Star weekend as well as the game against the Bulls on Thursday night.
Tobias Harris was one of six Philadelphia players who scored in double figures against the Bulls. He led the team with 24 points.
"I don't know if it was the best (win) because I don't rate them, but definitely one of the big ones," coach Doc Rivers said following the victory. "Heck, even at the All-Star break, listening to all the other guys, ‘Man, you guys are gonna be in trouble your first two.' Well, we were not. And we played great."
On any other night against Washington, bettors would easily take the Sixers as outright victors. However, with the Sixers down Simmons and Embiid, Beal could make life difficult tonight. The safe bet here is to take the money line, which lies with the Sixers at -185. The over-under is set at 234 total points, which isn’t out of the question being that both of these teams seem to score heavily when lining up against each other on the court.