Sixers-Wizards: 5 things you need to know

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Sixers-Wizards: 5 things you need to know

With the winning streak gone, the 3-1 Sixers will look to bounce back on Wednesday night against the 0-3 Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center.

This game could be a little tricky for the Sixers. Last Friday, the Sixers rallied from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to beat the Wizards, 109-102, in Washington’s home opener. The Sixers also withstood a first-half barrage from John Wall only to shut him down in the second half. They also faced the Wizards without veteran big man Nene, who hasn’t played since the season opener.

Here are a few storylines to keep an eye on for Wednesday night’s game:

1. MCW vs. John Wall, Part II
It was a tale of two halves last Friday for the speedy Wall. In the first half, Wall hit his first seven shots, hit 9 of 13 and had 23 points. In the second half, Wall shot 1 for 6 and had just three points.

What happened?

“We built a wall in front of him and he took a lot of shots to get going,” Sixers’ leading scorer Evan Turner said after Friday’s game. “Sometimes you use them all up. That’s pretty much it.”

Wall’s strength is his ability to get past the defense in transition. When the Sixers forced the Wizards to slow down and play a half-court offense, the shots stopped falling. Meanwhile, rookie Michael Carter-Williams was slowed by the Wizards’ defense. He had a solid performance with 14 points and five assists, but really excelled in running the Sixers’ offense.

What will round two bring?

2. Scoring in the paint
The Sixers scored an amazing 74 points in the paint last Friday. They also got 20 fast-break points, 18 second-chance points and nine offensive rebounds. Thad Young led all scorers with 29 points on 20 shots -- with just two outside of the paint.

Turner, who scored 23 points on 18 shots, made just two of them from outside of the paint and attempted just three shots longer than 14 feet.

That sums it up. The Sixers attack and run, and because of that they were able to wear down the bigger Wizards.

“We want to attack and attack. We want to get to the rim,” coach Brett Brown said after the game. “It’s not all about firing up threes, because if you look at our three-point shooting percentage, you say, ‘Oh, they’re 6 for 23 and they only shot 14 free throws and made seven. How do you win a game like that?’ So we did a good job continuing to run, and I was especially proud that they were able to run late in the game.”

The Sixers pulled off the same feat in rallying from down 20 against the Bulls on Saturday. Big teams like the Wizards and Bulls have had a difficult time keeping up with the Sixers late in games.

Expect the Sixers to try and wear down the Wizards again on Wednesday.

3. Turner’s zone
Turner is averaging a career-best 21.8 points through the early going, shooting a robust 52.3 percent from the field while converting on 19 of his 22 free throw attempts. He is second in the NBA in field goals, field goal attempts and has cracked the top 15 in league scoring average after four games.

Not a bad start for Turner.

Interestingly, Turner has found his hot spots on the floor. Of the 65 shots he has attempted this season, 51 have come from 15 feet and in. On those shots, Turner is shooting 65 percent (33 for 51).

But on shots longer than 15 feet, Turner is 1 for 14 this season, including 0 for 7 on three-pointers. That made shot was a 16-footer in the season opener against the Heat.

4. Battle of TOs
The Sixers turned it over 19 times last Friday in Washington, which led to 26 points. They committed 24 turnovers in the blowout loss to the Warriors on Monday night and have fought bouts of sloppiness throughout the exhibition and regular season.

It’s early, but the Sixers are third in the league with 76 turnovers (19 per game). They also have forced 77 turnovers, which is third-best in the league, which exemplifies the up-tempo pace.

5. This and that
• Turner has appeared in 139 consecutive regular-season games and has missed just four games in his four-year career. The last time Turner missed a game was Jan. 16, 2012, against Milwaukee when he had a quadriceps bruise.

• Along those lines, Spencer Hawes has appeared in 108 straight games. This comes after he missed 29 of 34 games with injuries during the 2011-12 season.

• The Wizards followed the loss to the Sixers with a 10-point loss to the Heat on Sunday. Bradley Beal scored 19 points to lead Washington, but shot just 6 for 14. The second-year guard is shooting 32 percent (16 for 50) this season, which underscores the Wizards’ early-season woes.

• Jan Vesely, selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 draft, has not appeared in a game this season. The 7-footer is healthy, but seems to be residing deep in coach Randy Wittman’s doghouse.

• Wittman was fined $20,000 after the game against the Sixers for cursing during the postgame press conference.

After the game, Wittman was asked about the loss and to explain what he thought was the problem.

Wittman said: “Well, you tell me what you think the problem is? You watched the game. Commitment to [expletive] playing defense. That’s what it is. That’s what it boils down to.”

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

The Bulls are apparently still after Jahlil Okafor.

Chicago has continued its trade push for the Sixers’ big man, according to a report Wednesday night by The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

In early February, the Bulls inquired about Okafor, according to a report by CSNChicago.com.

With Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline nearing, the clock is ticking on the Sixers’ possible trade of Okafor, who will get moved” by the mandatory cutoff date, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge on Tuesday.

The Sixers already have one trade nearly completed. They are currently finalizing a deal that will send Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato on Wednesday night (see story).

With Okafor, aside from the Bulls, other teams have reportedly expressed interest in the second-year center, including the Pacers, Blazers and Pelicans (who are expected to be out of the running after landing DeMarcus Cousins).

Okafor is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game this season over 38 contests. Last season, he played 53 games (48 starts) as a rookie and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds.

The 21-year-old has taken all the trade buzz in stride.

“Trade rumors are something that’s going to be part of my life probably for as long as I’m in the NBA," Okafor said on Feb. 4 after the Bulls’ reported interest originally surfaced. "I’ve been hearing it since I’ve been in the NBA about me being traded. I just try to focus on what I can. That’s being here on this team and trying to help this team win.”

Sources: Sixers finalizing trade to send Ilyasova to Hawks for Splitter, 2nd-round picks

Sources: Sixers finalizing trade to send Ilyasova to Hawks for Splitter, 2nd-round picks

Updated: 9:45 p.m.

Ersan Ilyasova’s time with the Sixers is over after just 53 games.

The Sixers will send Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for big man Tiago Splitter and two second-round picks, according to league sources. The Sixers have not determined if they are going to keep Splitter or waive him, as they have done with previous trades. Splitter’s contract will expire after this season. 

Looking at the two picks, the Sixers will receive the Heat’s 2017 second-rounder. In addition, they will have rights to a pick swap of the Hawks’ 2017 second-round pick and the least favorable of the Jazz’s four second-round picks. That pick is between the Jazz, Knicks, Pistons and Warriors, and will most likely result in the Warriors’ selection at 60. 

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported the trade. 

Ilyasova has an expiring contract. Instead of letting it run out and getting nothing in return, the Sixers added to their mounting stockpile of picks. These picks will be important to keep in mind should the Sixers look to make a deal before the draft. 

The Sixers acquired Ilyasova in November from the Thunder for Jerami Grant. The ninth-year veteran added instant leadership and accountability, both in practices and in games, which was needed upon the retirement of Elton Brand. 

Ilyasova also served as a go-to for rookie Dario Saric. Not only do they play the same position, Ilyasova could help him navigate his first season in the league after a career in Europe. Ilyasova’s departure creates the opportunity for Saric to step back into the starting power forward role. Saric is averaging 16.1 points and 6.7 rebounds off the bench in his last 10 games.

Ilyasova quickly fit into the Sixers’ system upon being traded, scoring 21 points against the Cavaliers in his second game. He seamlessly slid into the starting lineup while Saric was moved to the second unit as he learned the NBA. Ilyasova ranked second on the team in scoring (14.3 points) and third in rebounds (5.9). He led the Sixers with 46 games in double-figure scoring (including 12 of 20-plus) and 10 double-doubles. 

Ilyasova struggled as of late, though. This month, his shooting percentage dropped to 35.6 from the field (the first month below 40 percent) and 23.4 from three-point range. He scored a combined 10 points in the Sixers’ final two games before the All-Star break, going 4 for 16 from the field and 1 for 7 from three. 

“I am not going to say it’s just because of free agency,” Ilyasova said last week (see story). “You have 82 games, you can’t play perfect. Sometimes you have good games and bad games. Last week, I was kind of out of rhythm and missed a lot of shots.”

After playing his first seven NBA seasons with the Bucks, the Hawks are now Ilyasova’s fifth team in two seasons.

Like Ilyasova, the 6-foot-11 Splitter is a veteran with international experience. Splitter, 32, is in his seventh NBA season. He has been sidelined all season, though, by calf and hip injuries. On the day of the trade, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported his return “is not imminent” but the Hawks did not expect him to miss the entire season. 

Splitter most recently averaged 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16.1 minutes for the Hawks last season. 

Brett Brown is very familiar with Splitter. He was on the Spurs’ coaching staff when Splitter began playing for the team in 2010. Splitter spent his first five seasons in San Antonio before being traded to the Hawks in 2015. 

There could be more moves on the horizon for the Sixers. Wojnarowski also reported the Bulls are continuing to push for a Jahlil Okafor trade (see story).

The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m.