Wizards-76ers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 29, 2013
Based on the way they've played of late, the Washington Wizards are confident they can bounce back from their latest defeat and possibly end their struggles in Philadelphia. The Wizards look to avoid a fifth consecutive road loss to the inconsistent 76ers on Wednesday night. Washington (11-32) has won seven of 11 and is 6-4 since John Wall made his season debut after returning from a knee injury. The Wizards fell 96-94 to Sacramento on Monday as Isaiah Thomas hit a floater with 1 second left, the decisive basket in a game that featured 16 ties and no lead bigger than seven points. Emeka Okafor had 23 points with 15 rebounds while Wall scored 19 and Martell Webster added 18 for the Wizards. "I hope it does hurt us a little bit,'' Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "It stings.'' The Wizards shot 48.1 percent and recorded 20 assists but also committed 20 turnovers. "We fell victim to doing too much individually," Wittman said. "Whenever we have (as many) turnovers than assists, that means we're trying to do too much on an individual basis." While the defeat halted the Wizards' progress for the moment, they are poised to make corrections and move on. "We have to learn from those mistakes," Webster said. "We want to show everybody we can execute. We've got to make up for it in Philadelphia and I am confident we will." Though Washington has lost four straight at Philadelphia by an average of 21.5 points, it snapped a five-game skid in the series with a 97-76 home victory March 30. The Wizards hope second-leading scorer Bradley Beal, averaging 13.2 points, will be able to go after a nagging wrist injury limited him to six points and three fourth-quarter minutes against the Kings. Okafor averaged 7.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in his last four games against the 76ers while with New Orleans, but he's totaled 38 points and 31 boards in the last two contests overall. The 76ers (18-26) hope to continue their recent home dominance over Washington while trying to rebound from a 103-100 home defeat to Memphis on Monday. Evan Turner scored a career-high 27 points but Philadelphia blew an early 17-point lead to lose for the third time in four games. Philadelphia shot a season-high 54.2 percent but allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 56.0. "We're playing great,'' Turner said. "You think bad luck just keeps rolling? Basketball's a game of runs. "Our next step is closing off games when we have a lead. It's about execution." Doing their best to tread water while waiting for injured center Andrew Bynum to make his Philadelphia debut sometime after the All-Star break, the 76ers have alternated wins and losses in their last eight home games. "I think those guys have a good feel for themselves out there," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "I think our guys are confident. They were in good spirits after the game. "We're playing a Washington team that is playing good basketball. We're going to have our hands full, that's for sure." Turner has averaged 23.3 points and 54.9 percent shooting in the last three games, but has scored 8.6 points in eight career contests versus Washington.
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