Washington Wizards: Top 3 Games of the 2018-19 Schedule

John Wall, NBA, Washington Wizards
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Games #1 & Bonus – at/vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Tuesday/Wednesday, Jan. 8/9

This back-to-back sees the Wizards play the 76ers at home and on the road, a tough task for both teams to deal with. The Sixers were one of the NBA’s surprise teams in 2017-18, with their young core leading them to the playoffs for the first time in several seasons. Many have them slated to be a power in the East for years to come, thanks in large part to the talents of players like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. These two games could be a litmus test for the Wizards, and how they stack up against another one of the perceived elite Eastern Conference teams.

The Wizards and Sixers split the four games they played last season, with each team winning two apiece. The Wizards won their season opener against Philadelphia last season due to a strong showing by their backcourt. John Wall and Bradley Beal scored 28 and 25 points respectively to lead the Wizards to a win.

Washington’s record against Philadelphia suggests that they could have held their own against them in a playoff series. Wall being healthy would have given the Wizards an element the Sixers may not have been able to counter effectively, and ultimately an advantage and mismatch to potentially exploit. Guard play would have been a critical component for the Wizards’ game plan in a series against Philadelphia, especially since they didn’t have anyone to match up against Joel Embiid.

Dwight Howard likely won’t solve that problem, but he could at the very least contain Embiid and give Washington enough of a chance to win. This back to back could be a playoff preview, a sign of things to come between two teams in this new, wide-open Eastern Conference.

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