76ers-Wizards Game 2 Preview, Odds, Predictions
After a two-day break, the Philadelphia 76ers return to Wells Fargo Center to face the Washington Wizards in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Sixers fought through horrible refereeing to take a 1-0 lead on Sunday behind the heroics of Tobias Harris. Tonight the 76ers will look to expand their lead before traveling to Washington for game three. The 76ers, who have beaten the Wizards in now four straight games, will look to continue an eight-game home win streak tonight.
Tobias Harris is coming off a 37 point performance in game one. It was Harris’ first 30+ point effort since April 3rd against Minnesota and just his third since mid-February. was his first 30+ point effort since April 3 against Minnesota, and just his third since mid-February. Harris scored more than 20 points just three times, and was held to single-digits twice over his last 10 games. If Harris can continue to put up big offensive numbers, it makes everything easier on the 76ers offense and opens up the floor for Ben Simmons.
The biggest key to a victory tonight will be keeping Joel Embiid out of foul trouble. Joel’s four fouls during game one were not his fault, but if the referees continue to call fouls like this, Joel will need to be careful. The Wizards’ lack of a decent center is their biggest weakness, and Joel has a gigantic mismatch if he can get on the court. On Sunday, Embiid had 30 points in just 30 minutes and could easily top that tonight if given enough time.
George Hill’s performance off the bench was tremendous for the Sixers the other night, and the Sixers will need that from the bench mob throughout the playoffs. Outside of Hill and Dwight, the 76ers bench was a measly 2/9 from the field. Furkan Korkmaz missed all three of his attempts from deep, but this slump likely won’t stick around long. When he breaks out of that slump, the Sixers shouldn’t have an issue getting production from their bench.
Many criticized Ben Simmons’ inability to score on Sunday, and while it wasn’t a big deal due to his 15 rebounds and assists, it does need to be adjusted. Ben missed all six of his free throw attempts, including several late in the game. Again these issues from just one game shouldn’t be blown out of proportion but are something to keep an eye on going forward.
If Philadelphia can provide the same level of offense tonight as earlier in the series alongside fewer fouls, this shouldn’t be a close game. Bradley Beal won’t be able to will the Wizards to a win despite his taunts towards Joel Embiid, and the 76ers should cruise into Washington Friday, holding a 2-0 lead.
Prediction: 76ers -8.5 and U 231 (-112)
|Washington Wizards||+8.5 (-110)||+310||O 231 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||-8.5 (-112)||-390||U 231 (-112)|
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher USA Today Sports