76ers-Wizards Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 01, 2013
The Philadelphia 76ers' season-opening win over the defending NBA champions was enough of a surprise in itself, but the performance of Michael-Carter Williams turned plenty of heads. He's not exactly basking in the moment, though. After a stellar debut, the rookie point guard looks to guide Philadelphia to its first 2-0 start in seven years Friday night as it visits the Washington Wizards, who are wondering when their own prized rookie will be able to take the floor. The 76ers entered the season under first-year coach Brett Brown with minimal expectations, but they raced out to a 19-0 lead Wednesday before upsetting Miami 114-110. Evan Turner scored 26 points and Spencer Hawes added 24, but the most impressive performance came from Carter-Williams, who finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, 12 assists and nine steals in his first NBA game. ''You see what he can bring on a big stage,'' Brown said. The No. 11 overall pick out of Syracuse dunked for the game's first points, then hit two clutch free throws with nine seconds remaining to seal the victory for Philadelphia, which hasn't won its first two games since starting 3-0 in 2006-07. "I think we proved to not only ourselves but a lot of people what we can do," Carter-Williams said. "We're going to have a lot of ups and downs, it's just how we're going to respond from the down games that we have and staying with it as a team." The rookie, though, is trying to move on quickly, especially with the challenge of going head-to-head with Wizards point guard John Wall on Friday. "My mind and focus is on Washington now," Carter-Williams said. "John's a great player and I have to have all my attention on him and the rest of the Washington Wizards. I had a great game, it was a lot of fun, but we still have 81 games to play, so I still have to stay focused." Wall had 20 points and 11 assists as Washington fell 113-102 at Detroit in its season opener Wednesday, but he hit only 8 of 21 from the field and committed four turnovers. "I took a couple of bad shots and I didn't make a couple of easy ones I'm used to making," Wall said. "The main thing is you just have to stay confident and keep shooting. I'm not going to let one game stop me." The Wizards played without No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter, who is battling a right hip flexor injury. He's considered day to day and said earlier this week he's still experiencing a lot of pain. Trevor Ariza scored 28 points in the opener, but Washington was outscored 56-28 in the paint and allowed the Pistons to shoot 50 percent from the floor. "We just have to do a better job as a team of playing team defense," Ariza said. "When they get the ball down low we have to do a better job of getting in there and hitting them." Wall scored 24 points and Turner didn't score while going 0 for 11 from the field in the last meeting between these teams April 12, but Thaddeus Young finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Sixers to a 97-86 victory.
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