Philadelphia 76ers vs Washington Wizards Playoff Previewby Charlie Parent May 21, 2021 0 comments
The Philadelphia 76ers come into this year’s postseason in the best position they’ve been in in the last 20 years. Back in 2001, their star player Allen Iverson had led them to the one-seed in the Eastern Conference. Now, MVP candidate Joel Embiid has led this team right back into the one-seed. In this series, they’ll be taking on the Washington Wizards. The Wizards have been one of the hotter teams in basketball recently, and just clinched their position as the eight-seed over the Indiana Pacers. Now, they look to upset the 76ers and become the sixth eighth-seed to ever beat a one-seed. If they can achieve this feat, they’ll advance to the second round for the first time since 2016.
This series is filled with superstars. Players like Embiid, Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons are all household names in the NBA. While Philadelphia may have more talent on paper, you can never underestimate a team with two superstars, especially when they’re playing at the top of their games. Westbrook has been on fire this past month, breaking the triple-double record and putting up monster stat lines. Beal, while injured, has been putting up some seriously high-scoring games all season and is undoubtedly a top-five shooting guard in the league. The amount of talent in this series will certainly make it worth tuning into to see these guys go to work.
Series- Washington Wizards: +750
Series- Philadelphia 76ers: -1250
As expected, the 76ers are heavy favorites in this one. A bet for the 76ers would almost be a sure thing but the risk taken for such a small profit isn’t really there. Betting the Wizards has a tremendous amount of risk but a huge reward as well. However, the risk just seems too big to take a shot on Washington, especially when their star player isn’t at full strength. Not betting on this series at all would probably be the best choice just because of the small profit gains from taking the 76ers and the amount of risk that is placed on the Wizards.
Joel Embiid vs Wizards’ Centers
The Wizards run a rotation of centers that includes Alex Len, Robin Lopez and Daniel Gafford. In this series, the group will be tasked with guarding a top-two center in the league in Embiid. They’ll need to do whatever they can to even somewhat slow him down. Against the Wizards this season, Embiid has averaged 30 points per game in three wins. Obviously, Washington won’t be able to stop him but they’ll have to do everything they can to get him away from the ball and not be involved as much. If they can’t do this, the series is pretty much a win for the 76ers unless something drastic happens.
Bradley Beal vs 76ers Defense
The Sixers had a miserable time guarding Beal this season. He dropped 60 on them on January 7th and is looking to repeat this massive figure again. The initial thought here was that Simmons could guard Beal but it doesn’t seem that way. Head coach Doc Rivers elected to not have Simmons guard Beal this season, and for the most part, it worked because they won the game. However, Philadelphia will need to find a man to guard Beal so that he doesn’t put up another 60 piece on them. Allowing Beal to have big games is how the 76ers lose this series.
Washington Wizards X-Factor: The Supporting Cast
The duo of Beal and Westbrook is bound to show out for their team every night. Where the Wizards lose this series is in the supporting cast of this dynamic duo. With Beal dealing with a hamstring injury, this supporting cast will need to step up more than ever. Guys like Rui Hachimura, Raul Neto, and Gafford will really need to put in the work on both ends of the floor. At the end of the day, if the Wizards cannot build a strong scoring base behind Beal and Westbrook, there’s really no shot at them winning this one.
Philadelphia 76ers X-Factor: Tobias Harris
Harris is one of the guys that is a borderline superstar in the league. He’s also had mixed playoff results. When he’s at his best, the 76ers are almost unstoppable. A true scoring duo of him and Embiid is so difficult to beat when mixing in Simmons’ playmaking and defending abilities.
If the 76ers are going to have an easy series here, Harris will need to go off for them, and he has all the potential to. He creates quite the matchup problem for the Wizards as this is a team who likes to play on the smaller side. When you look at the size of Harris, Embiid and Simmons it’s hard to see who will guard Harris in this mix. Harris can be a serious game wrecker for the Washington coaching staff and could lock up this series quickly if he’s on his game.
Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers 4, Washington Wizards 1
It’s going to be really hard for the Wizards to even win a game here but it is plausible. The 76ers have just been too dominant all year long to let up here. They’ve beaten Washington three times this season and know what they need to do to do it a couple more. The Wizards get a game here because there is a very good possibility Beal and Westbrook take over a game but other than that, chances are pretty grim for this team. This should be an easy win for the 76ers as they look to advance to the second round.
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Main Image Credit: From Google Images