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Home Opener

November 1, 2013

Pregame Notes:

*UPDATE: Marcin Gortat will now start at C for the Wizards.  Nene has not been ruled out, but if he does play it will be off the bench.  We'll tweet out his status right around tip-off.  

We just heard from Randy Wittman and he said that he anticipates having Nene (calf) available for tonight's #WizSixers game, but he'll have to wait until after he warms up to finalize that decision.  He's considered a gametime decision. 

He also said that Gortat would again come off the bench, which would mean if Nene can't go we could see Kevin Seraphin step into a starting role with Trevor Booker along the Wizards' front line. 

Philadelphia has some big guards, but Witt said that wouldn't change anything about how the Wizards go about their business and they will just have to "guard them like anyone else". 

He downplayed the Wall vs. Carter-Williams matchup, which is something the fans are eager to see.  But he's focused more about the team and what the Wizards need to do in order to get this W tonight. 

We'll have the Live Chat up and running around 7pm tonight, so join in the conversation with our web team from Verizon Center. 

Watch Randy Wittman's pregame availability here:

And remember to use #WizSixers when tweeting, like Cook Book!

Home Opener - The Wizards will open up Verizon Center for the first time during the 2013-14 season tonight as they welcome the Philadelphia 76ers to town for the home opener.

Before the season began, many of the national pundits picked the 76ers to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. But, after their stunning upset win over the defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday night, tonight's game suddenly doesn't seem so easy for the Wizards. 

Last season, the Wizards struggled with some of the lesser teams in the East and one of the points of emphasis entering this year was to not let that happen again.  The fact that Philadelphia beat Miami on opening night is probably a good thing for this Wizards team because it's tangible proof that they can't take this team lightly. 

After trading away Jrue Holiday and letting Andrew Bynum go to free agency this past off-season, the 76ers are in rebuilding mode.  They have a young roster, but still have some talented players who - as they proved Wednesday night - can win games in this league.

Point-Guard Battle - The talk around the league right now is about rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who had one of the best NBA debuts in league history (22p, 12a, 9st, 7r).  As a Syracuse grad, I saw plenty of MCW over the last few years and there is no denying the fact that he has top-level talent. His biggest strength is probably his combination of size, quickness, and ball handling ability, as not many guys at 6'6" can move like he does.  With that said, he is still a rookie and about to play in his first career NBA road game, so it will be interesting to see what he does for an encore. 

On the Wizards side, John Wall finished Wednesday night's game with a fine looking stat line (20p, 11a), but he will be the first to tell you that he needs to play better in order for the Wizards to win games.  For the Wizards to be successful tonight, look for Wall to get his teammates involved early and then attack the rim to get into his rhythm.  

Wall on MCW - "It's a great accomplishment for him and it's exciting for him to have a good game like that. There are ups and downs in this league and you never know what's going to happen. I'm excited to go out there and give him another challenge."

Avoiding 0-2 - The Wizards have started 0-2 in each of the last three seasons, but with expectations set for the playoffs this year, it will be crucial to avoid a slow start and get this win at home tonight. 

Randy Wittman talked to the media about what the Wizards need to improve on to get this win and about what to look for in this Sixers team:
The action kicks off at 7pm on CSN or you can listen to the game on 1500 AM. I'll be running the Live Chat starting around tip-off from Verizon Center.