Philadelphia 76ers vs Washington Wizards

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The Philadelphia 76ers lead the Atlantic Division by a half-game over the Brooklyn Nets. Philadelphia is 24-12 and will be playing its second game in as many days when visiting the Washington Wizards on Friday after playing in the Windy City on Thursday against the Chicago Bulls. Philadelphia defeated Indiana and Utah prior to the All-Star break and have won four of the last five. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid is now considered the favorite to win the NBA MVP award.

Washington returned from the All-Star break on Wednesday and was defeated by Memphis 127-112. Bradley Beal was the leading scorer for Washington in the loss to Memphis with 21 points. Washington has lost three of the last four and the Wizards are fourth in the Southeast Division 3 ½ games behind the first-place Miami Heat, and more importantly, Washington is 12th in the Eastern Conference standings 2 ½ games behind the eighth-place Toronto Raptors.

Philadelphia may play without both Embiid and Simmons

The Philadelphia 76ers return from the All-Star break with a game against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday before meeting Washington on Friday. Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will both miss the game on Thursday against the Bulls, while Simmons has already been ruled out for Friday’s game against Washington, It is unknown whether Embiid will play or not. Embiid is the leading scorer for the 76ers with an average of 30.2 points per game and Simmons is the third leading scorer with an average of 16.1 points per game. Simmons is also the leader in assists for Philadelphia with an average of 7.6 per game. As a team, Philadelphia averages 23.4 assists and 14.9 turnovers for a below-average 1.6 assists to turnover ratio.

If Embiid cannot play on Friday his presence will be missed on the boards as the 76ers center is the leader in rebounds with an average of 11.6 per game and Simmons is the second leading rebounder for Philadelphia with an average of 7.9 boards per contest. The 76ers average 45.8 boards per game with 35.6 on the defensive end and 10.2 per game off the offensive glass. Philadelphia is averaging 8.6 steals and 6.2 block shots per game and Simmons is the leader in steals with an average of 1.6 per game and Embiid is the leader in blocked shots with an average of 1.4 per contest. The 76ers defeated the Chicago Bulls, 127-105, on Thursday without Embiid and Simmons.

Washington needs help on the defensive end

Washington continues to give up too many points as the Wizards are 29th in the NBA in points allowed at 119.4 per game. In the first game back from the All-Star break, Washington allowed 127 points to the Memphis Grizzlies. Part of the problem is on the boards, as Washington averages only 44.2 rebounds per game which is 16th in the NBA. The leading rebounder is Russell Westbrook with an average of 9.6 boards per contest. The Wizards are averaging 7.6 steals and 3.7 blocked shots per game with Bradley Beal the leader in steals with an average of 1.4 per game and Robin Lopez the swat leader with an average of 0.6 blocked shots per contest.

Washington is scoring an average of 114.7 points per game, with Bradley Beal the leading scorer with an average of 32.5 points per game, which is first in the NBA. Westbrook is the dish leader for Washington with a team-high 9.8 assists-per-game out of the 24.8 assists per game that Washington averages. Washington is also averaging 13.7 turnovers per game for a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Injury Report: Ish Smith is out until mid-April

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Philadelphia will play on Friday without its third leading scorer and leader in assists Ben Simmons, who is out for Covid-19 protocols, and the 76ers could play without leading scorer and leading rebounder Joel Embiid for the same reason. Both are out on Thursday when the 76ers face the Bulls in the front half of a back-to-back. Washington is coming off a loss to Memphis on Wednesday, but the Wizards have covered the spread in nine of the last 12 overall. Washington will use the scoring of Bradley Beal, who is first in the NBA, and the all-around play of Russell Westbrook, who is averaging close to a triple-double, to cover the spread on Friday versus a short-handed 76ers squad.

Prediction:
Washington Wizards +4.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Although Washington is allowing over 119 points per game which is 29th in the NBA, Philadelphia could be without two of its top three scorers. The total has finished under in four of Washington’s last five games. Philadelphia will have a strong defense even though they could play without both Embiid and Simmons and that will keep the score low.

Prediction:
UNDER