This edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” – Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews key upcoming 76ers games – features tonight’s opponent, the much improved Washington Wizards who are playoff bound in 2013-14. But tonight’s not really about the 76ers and Wizards.
Nope, tonight is all about Allen Iverson.
Still, we have to show the game itself a little love, so after the jump I’ll look a Fo’ key items for tonight’s game. Additionally, we’ll get a little more insight into the Wizards team the Sixers face tonight from our man Abdullah Sharif at HoopDistrict.net as Abdullah will answer Fo’ questions on the Heat from us here at Philadunkia.
Here are Fo’ key items I will be watching for tonight…
1) Iverson-mania: I’ll be very interested to see how big of crowd is down at the WFC tonight for the Iverson jersey retirement ceremony. I’ll also can’t wait to witness what tribute elements the franchise has produced for Iverson. Lastly, I’ll be interested to see if the Sixers can garner an momentum from the big crowd as well as the Iverson festivities; use it their advantage on the court and their avoid their 12th straight home loss .
2) MCW Finds His Game: The recent struggles of Carter-Williams have been well documented on this site and other Sixer loyal sites. I am hoping that a match-up with John Wall, one of the elite PGs in the League, will inspire MCW to play well and jump start a run of quality play down the final stretch of the season.
3) Henry Sims: I have been very impressed with the former Georgetown Hoya in his first 2 games as a 76er. Tonight however Sims will face a solid Wizards frontline that boasts Marcin Gortat, so I will be keeping a close eye on the new Sixer big to see how he handles the match-up with a versatile banger like Gortat.
4) The Defense: After three quarters of playing respectable defense against Orland, the 7-6 went MIA on that end of the court in the 4th Q and it cost this rag-tag bunch the game on Wednesday night. We all know the Sixers defense has been putrid all season, so I really should not complain when they play decent defense for three quarters and than lose. But I am greedy. So I want to watch this group of borderline NBA players (outside of Thad & MCW) dig in tonight and give a great effort at that end of the floor.
Q&A with Abdullah Sharif at HoopDistrict.net…
Philadunkia: What’s your favorite Allen Iverson on the court moment (It would be great if it was a Wizards related moment, but no pressure.)?
Abdullah Sharif at HoopDistrict.net: As a DC native, this almost forces me to mess around and highlight one of his Georgetown moments but I’ll spare you, Philly.
When thinking of Allen Iverson, I immediately think of Michael Jordan and all the ruckus A.I. used to cause on the world’s greatest. We all loved Iverson’s double crossover that had MJ reaching for his ankles as a memeber of the Bulls but a real memory of mine is the MJ-AI duel in 2002 when Mike was a Wizard. The moment? The entire 1st quarter where A.I. blindly dropped 17, shooting from all over the floor en route to a 40 point game. The Wizards eventually won that game (which made the moment even more sweeter) but Iverson personally outdueled MJ, who scored 30.
Philadunkia: The Wizards have won 5 straight. What have been some of the keys to the season best winning streak?
Abdullah Sharif at HoopDistrict.net: It’s almost as if the passing of the trading deadline cast some funny spell on the Wizards. After trashing the Hawks, the Wizards shipped away two unproductive spot-fillers and all of a sudden, they can’t stop losing. The Wizards went on to beat a pesky Pelicans team, before decidedly beating the Cavs and Magic and finally the Raptors in a triple OT thriller. The keys? A valiant effort from everyone that has stepped on the floor. Moving and sharing the ball. Regaining momentum after losing big leads. Playing tantalizing DEFENSE. A soft remaining schedule should have the Wizards’ success in contiuum as the season winds down.
Philadunkia: What did you think of the additions the Wizards made in the last week (Andre Miller and Drew Gooden)?
Abdullah Sharif at HoopDistrict.net: The acquisition of Andre Miller left the Wizards fan base a bit polarized given the rusty and aged nature of the veteran point guard. However, he’s impressed pretty well in his first few games with the team. The Wizards had been yearning for a productive and experienced point guard to back up John Wall to keep the second unit composed when John is resting on the bench. Miller has seemingly accomplished that thus far and had his best run in a Wiz uniform against the Raptors two nights ago, scoring 11 points on 5-7 shooting.
As for Gooden, the Wizards are hopeful that he can be similarly effective. The unfortunate loss of Nene causes a critical lack of size down low to the point where the Wizards were forced to institute some small ball lineups, a rare decision by coach Wittman. But with a vacant roster spot, the Wizards had the tools to sign Goodman to a 10-day contract and hope that he can play enough minutes to make a difference on the boards and perhaps score a few points off the bench.
Philadunkia: How concerned are you that Nene’s knee injury will prevent him from being ready for the 1st round of the playoffs?
Abdullah Sharif at HoopDistrict.net: Seeing Nene fall at such a critical point of the season and after a dramatic game-winning performance the night before stung deep. The concern for his recovery, also deep. Nene is expected to miss roughly six weeks with his sprained MCL. That translates to about 20-25 games which translates to him MAYBE returning for the final 5 or 6 games. Once back, however, Nene will most likely be back on his minutes restriction and it’ll be up to the coaching staff to allocate his minutes adequately. But as Wizards fans, we’ve learned that any sized portion of Nene is a good portion and the proof is in the numbers: the Wizards are 8-34 lifetime without Nene in the lineup, including 1-6 this season.
Thanks to Abdullah for his time and answers.
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