Wizards Look For Win Over Sixers
With the franchise's first division title in 28 years within reach, the Washington Wizards' recent road trip could not have gone much worse.
The Wizards look to regroup Wednesday when they return home and try for their first season sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers in 35 years.
Washington (37-32) had a seemingly comfortable six-game lead over Miami in the Southeast Division on Feb. 22, but has gone 6-11 since to fall a half-game behind the first-place Heat.
Oddsmakers have made Washington -6.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 207 total points (View NBA Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed
on Washington -6.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
The Wizards, who last won a division title in 1978-79 when they were the Washington Bullets, are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. They lost to Utah 103-97 on Monday and dropped the final three games of a five-game road trip against Western Conference opponents.
Washington had an 11-point lead in the third quarter against the Jazz, only to squander yet another second-half advantage. The Wizards led at the break in each game of the trip, but were outscored by an average of 9.2 points after halftime to finish the road swing 1-4.
"We played hard, and it wasn't enough. We've played good teams, and we've played teams that are fighting, and we came up short in all of them,'' said Washington star Gilbert Arenas, who fouled out for the first time this season Monday.
The Wizards will try to get back on track as they return to the Verizon Center, where they have the second-best home record in the East at 25-9.
Washington has won six of its last eight at home, and four of its last five there against the 76ers (28-42).
The Wizards have won the first two games - both on the road - over Philadelphia this season by an average of 11.0 points. Washington has not swept the season series since winning four games in 1971-72.
Arenas has scored 54 points in the two matchups with the Sixers this season, and is averaging 30.6 points in his last eight games against them. The three-time All-Star scored 26 of his 32 points in the second half against Utah, and is averaging 33.3 points and 7.5 assists in his last four games.
While Washington is letting it chances for a division crown slip away, Philadelphia has its season turned around and is trying to play its way into the postseason.
The 76ers rallied from 19 points down to win 93-85 at Miami on Saturday. They've won 10 of their last 14 contests and are four games out of the eighth and final East playoff spot.
Andre Iguodala scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half, Kyle Korver had 11 of his 17 in the final quarter and Philadelphia held the Heat to 30 percent shooting after halftime.
"We got down early. We showed some fight out there and that is what's most important," said Iguodala, who was back in the lineup after missing a game with a lower back strain. "We just switched the game around in the second half. We did a better job of communicating in the second half."
Iguodala scored a total of 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting in his two previous contests before sitting out Friday's win over Charlotte. He has 27 points and 20 assists in the two games against the Wizards this season.
Philadelphia has the third-worst road record in the East at 10-25 and has won consecutive road games just once this season, Jan. 24 and 27.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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