76ers-Wizards PreviewNov 1, 2010 - 6:35 PM By KATE HEDLIN STATS Writer
Philadelphia (0-3) at Washington (0-2), 7:00 p.m. EDT
The Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers had the first two picks in this year's draft, and both rookies are being counted on to help turn around their franchises, but only one has broken into the starting lineup.
In a matchup between winless teams, John Wall makes his debut in front of the home crowd at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night when the Wizards take on Evan Turner and the 76ers.
Wall was the first overall pick in the draft by Washington (0-2) and Philadelphia (0-3) took Turner at No. 2. However, Turner's NBA career has begun with him coming off the bench, averaging 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
While Turner is playing 27.7 minutes per game, Wall is averaging 38.5 and he's started both games for the Wizards. He scored 28 points in a 99-95 loss to Atlanta on Saturday, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
After struggling with his shot in a season-opening 112-83 loss to Orlando on Thursday, Wall went 9 of 17 from the floor Saturday and added nine assists and five rebounds. Against the Magic, he shot 6 of 19.
"He's worked a lot on his shot and it payed off," coach Flip Saunders said. "He made a couple shots and got his confidence going. ... He had overall a pretty nice floor game and made a lot of improvements from Game 1."
Washington is still waiting for the return of Gilbert Arenas, who was suspended 50 games last season for a felony gun conviction. Arenas hasn't played in the Wizards' first two games because of a right ankle sprain. He remains day to day.
Despite the winless start, Saunders, who replaced Eddie Jordan as coach, was pleased to see the improvement Saturday following the loss to Orlando. The Wizards shot 37.2 percent against the Magic but improved to 50 percent against Atlanta. They were close throughout until the Hawks pulled away late.
"I told our guys I'm never satisfied with losses, but I was satisfied with our competitive spirit," Saunders said.
It's been an equally rough start for Doug Collins, in his first season coaching Philadelphia. After his team was competitive in a three-point loss to the Hawks on Friday, the 76ers fell 99-86 to Indiana on Saturday.
Elton Brand had 12 points and 10 rebounds but shot 5 of 16. Louis Williams scored 18 points to lead the 76ers, who had a 36-23 advantage early in the second quarter.
"We had a horrible stretch," Collins said. "It's not our defense, it's our offense. We try to do too much on our own. Turn the ball over. Bad shots. They run out and score."
Collins said last week his decision to start Turner off the bench was due in part to a lack of chemistry with him in the starting lineup. However, Collins could be re-thinking that notion given the low production from his current starters, who are averaging 45.7 points.
Turner had nine points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes Saturday after being held scoreless on five shot attempts Friday.
The 76ers are trying to avoid their first 0-4 start since 2001-02 when they lost their first five games. However, Philadelphia dropped all three games against Washington last season, including both visits to the Verizon Center.
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