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News » Wizards-76ers Preview 2008-12-14

Wizards-76ers Preview 2008-12-14

Wizards-76ers Preview 2008-12-14
Last season, the Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards were playoff teams. This season, they're among the bottom teams in the Eastern Conference trying to right themselves under interim coaches.

A pair of last-place teams square off for the first time this season as Tony DiLeo takes over for Maurice Cheeks for the 76ers against the Wizards on Saturday night in Philadelphia.

The 76ers (9-14), who are at the bottom of the Atlantic Division, fired Cheeks on Saturday and replaced him with DiLeo, who is the team's assistant general manager. Cheeks became the fifth coach fired in the young season, joining P.J. Carlesimo (Oklahoma City), Eddie Jordan (Washington), Sam Mitchell (Toronto) and Randy Wittman (Minnesota).

"I felt we were not progressing the way we had wanted to progress," Sixers president Ed Stefanski said."I didn't feel on the floor we were executing the philosophy we wanted to have as Sixers basketball."

Philadelphia is trying to avoid a season high-tying fourth consecutive loss, and returned home after being swept in a home-and-home series by streaking Cleveland, including 88-72 on the road Friday night.

Willie Green led Philadelphia with 19 points. Andre Iguodala added 16 and Elton Brand had 11 and 11 rebounds in his second game back after missing two with a sore hamstring.

"We didn't have the mental toughness down the stretch," Iguodala said after Philadelphia set a season low for points scored. "We kind of gave in. I'm not saying that as a team we didn't play hard, but we didn't execute and we didn't get the stops we needed."

Now, the 76ers head back to the Wachovia Center, where they have dropped five in a row following a 5-2 start at home. Philadelphia hasn't won on its home floor since beating Golden State on Nov. 23, but has been competitive during its home slide, losing by an average of only 8.8 points.

Brand leads Philadelphia with 15.9 points per game, but has totaled only 17 on 29.2 percent shooting (7-for-24) from the floor over the last two contests. While with the Los Angeles Clippers last season, the top overall pick in the 1999 draft missed both matchups against Washington due to a ruptured left Achilles tendon that limited him to eight total games.

Brand is averaging 22.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in 18 career games against Washington, and has posted double-doubles in five of his last six matchups with the Wizards.

Washington (4-16) is bringing up the rear in the Southeast Division as well as the entire Eastern Conference. Only Minnesota (4-18) and Oklahoma City (2-21) have worse records than the Wizards, who are coming off their worst loss of the season and are 3-6 under interim coach Ed Tapscott, who replaced Jordan on Nov. 25 after their 1-10 start.

On Thursday, Caron Butler had 19 points and Antawn Jamison added 17 in a 122-88 home loss to defending NBA champion Boston. Washington matched the franchise's slowest start, set by the 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets.

"We're sick of it," Washington guard Juan Dixon said. "We've got to start taking things personal, man."

With Gilbert Arenas still out while recovering from left knee surgery, the Wizards are leaning heavily on their frontcourt combination of Butler (team-high 22.3 points per game) and Jamison (second with 20.0).

After that, though, second-year swingman Nick Young is the only player on the Wizards to average double figures in scoring with 10.9.

Butler is averaging only 14.8 points in 17 career games versus Philadelphia, but Jamison has averaged 21.7 points in 23 lifetime games against the Sixers, including 25 in 109-93 win on April 12.

The 76ers and Wizards split four games last season with each team winning twice at home. Washington has lost 12 of its last 16 visits to Philadelphia.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 14, 2008


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