The Sixers will look for their fourth win in five games tonight when they host the winless Washington Wizards (0-3). The Sixers have already beaten Washington once, taking a 109-102 decision on Friday at the Verizon Center. The Wizards were without center Nene that game, but he could be back in the lineup tonight. Here’s a look at some keys to the game for the Sixers.
* Get solid, steady play from point guard Michael Carter-Williams: Was Monday’s 4-of-17 shooting, six turnover, zero steal game in a loss to the Golden State Warriors an aberration? Somewhere between that and the terrific first three games is probably where Carter-Williams’ game is. His most impressive game of the season may have been in the win against the Wizards, not statistically, but because of how he overcame a slow start and foul trouble to lead the Sixers to a terrific fourth quarter. He’ll again have his hands full with John Wall, but a solid game from him will go a long way towards another win.
* Take advantage of their interior speed: Thaddeus Young posted 29 points and Evan Turner 23 in the win on Friday. A lot of those baskets came in the paint where the Sixers were much quicker than any of the big men Washington threw out there. Nene, along with Marcin Gortat, can clog up a lane but the Sixers can use their interior speed to their advantage again.
* Keep Washington out on the perimeter: In the first game guard John Wall was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 23 points, mostly on hard drives to the basket. The Sixers adjusted, making Wall shoot mostly from the outside and he scored just three points the rest of the game. Washington isn’t a great shooting team, so look for the Sixers to protect the inside first and encourage the Wizards to bomb from the outside.
* Be active at the offensive end: The Sixers were slowed by Golden State in Monday’s loss, mostly because the Warriors shot so well the Sixers were mostly starting their offense by taking the ball out of the basket. Once at the offensive end there was very little movement and not very good decision-making. They need to get out and run, but when they can’t do that they’ll have to be active in their halfcourt game.
* Get good minutes from the backups: Like it or not, coach Brett Brown has a bench that doesn’t have much NBA experience. But that is the hand he’s been dealt, so players like Daniel Orton and Darius Morris have to provide some solid minutes. Brown said Tuesday that the second hasn’t played as well as he’d like and that there needs to be improvement. All of that, of course, should come with playing time. Or maybe not.