Wizards-76ers Meet Again
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(AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards have seen plenty of each other the last two weeks. That’s no problem for the 76ers, who have had little trouble in recent matchups.
Philadelphia will try for its fifth straight victory against Washington on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.
The Atlantic Division-leading 76ers have dropped two of three, including a 113-92 defeat at Miami on Saturday. While Philadelphia (11-5) didn’t have to contend with Dwyane Wade, it allowed the Heat to shoot 54.3 percent and trailed by as many as 21 points.
Louis Williams scored 22 points to lead five players in double figures, but Andre Iguodala was held to a season-low four points and starting center Spencer Hawes missed a third straight game with a left Achilles’ strain.
Rookie Nikola Vucevic, who started in Hawes’ place, strained his left knee midway through the third quarter, although Philadelphia said he could have returned. He had a season-high 13 points and nine rebounds.
“We hung around and fought there a little bit,” coach Doug Collins said. “(Miami) wore us down.”
Hawes could return Monday when Philadelphia faces Washington for the third time in 11 days. The Sixers swept a home-and-home series Jan. 13 and 14 by scores of 120-89 at home and 103-90 on the road. Williams averaged 21.5 points in those games.
Philadelphia has won four straight overall against the Wizards by an average of 19.8 points.
The Sixers are eager to get a season-high seven-game homestand off to a good start. Philadelphia is 7-1 on its own court, holding teams to 82.6 points, and it will try to put up similar numbers in a favorable first half of the home stretch. The first four games are against teams with losing records, including a Washington club that is 0-6 on the road while shooting 38.0 percent and averaging 82.3 points.
The league-worst Wizards (2-14) are trying to avoid a third straight loss. They’ve given up at least 100 points in six straight, falling 100-94 to Boston on Sunday.
John Wall had 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while Nick Young scored 19 points. Washington took an 84-83 lead with 6:06 remaining, but the Celtics regained control with a 10-2 run.
Despite the loss, the Wizards feel they are taking steps in the right direction. After the back-to-back defeats to Philadelphia, their last three losses are by an average of six points.
“Ten days ago we weren’t competing at a high level,” coach Flip Saunders said. “We’ve gotten to the point now we’re competing at a high level. Now we’ve got to find a way to close out these games.”
Wall has been a big reason for the more competitive play. On Sunday, he shot 9 of 18, recording a double-double for the second straight game. The second-year point guard is averaging 24.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.4 assists the last five games after scoring 12.8 points in his first 11 games.
With Wall playing better, the Wizards, one of the NBA’s lowest scoring teams at 89.0 points per contest, have put up 102.3 in the last four.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.