The Washington Wizards are trying to navigate a period without four-time All-Star point guard John Wall by relying more on their bench. Washington hopes that formula can be successful again when it visits the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, one night after its reserves outscored Minnesota’s bench 49-11 in a 92-89 triumph.
Wall (knee) will miss about two more weeks while shooting guard Bradley Beal had an off-night (eight points on 2-of-11 shooting) against the Timberwolves before the second unit saved the day. “The good thing about our team, we’ve got guys that are willing to sacrifice and they understand that just because you start doesn’t mean you have to finish the game,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters after the victory. Philadelphia might be without rookie point guard Ben Simmons after he sprained his right ankle in Monday’s 113-91 setback against Cleveland. Simmons, who is averaging 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists, will test the ankle during a pregame walkthrough before a decision is made.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN Washington, NBCSN Philadelphia
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (11-9): Small forward Otto Porter Jr. stepped up with Beal struggling and scored 22 points in the win over Minnesota, including the go-ahead jumper with 25 seconds left. Porter was the lone starter to score in double figures as bench players Kelly Oubre Jr. (16 points) and Ian Mahinmi (eight rebounds) were among the more valuable players in the contest. “They came in and played well for us,” Porter told reporters of the reserves. “They gave us great energy. They were able to move the ball against them and play with pace, and we kind of fed with that energy in the second half.”
ABOUT THE 76ERS (11-8): Philadelphia is a young team on the rise that had won five of six games prior to being routed by the Cavaliers and receiving a bit of a lesson. “I hate losing, but I think that’s actually good,” star center Joel Embiid told reporters of the loss. “We can’t take any days off, we can’t play comfortable. We just have to keep working hard and get better.” Embiid recorded 30 points and 11 rebounds in the setback, but the outside shooting was atrocious as the 76ers made just 3-of-28 shots from 3-point range.
1. Wall registered 28 points and eight assists while Beal scored 25 when the Wizards posted a 120-115 season-opening victory over the 76ers.
2. Philadelphia SF Robert Covington scored 29 points and matched his career high of seven 3-pointers in the earlier loss to Washington.
3. Washington backup SG Jodie Meeks connected on a season-high four 3-pointers against Minnesota after being 2-for-15 over the previous seven games.
PREDICTION: 76ers 112, Wizards 109