Scott Brooks: Wizards can hang with Sixers due to 'best backcourt' in NBA

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One reason why Scott Brooks thinks Wizards can hang with 76ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Pulling off the upset over a No. 1 seed as a No. 8 seed in the NBA is a gargantuan task. With seven-game series, the best team usually wins. That may sound perfectly logical, though that also means upsets are rare and sports fans (except those of the favored teams), of course, love upsets.

An eight beating a one has only happened five times in the 74 cases since the NBA playoffs were expanded to 16 teams in 1983-84, per NBA.com. The first time was in 1994 when the Nuggets beat the Sonics, with help by guard Robert Pack who is now an assistant on the Wizards.

Only one eight-seed has ever made the NBA Finals. That was the 1998-99 New York Knicks. Three times have eight-seeds upset the No. 1 seed in a seven-game series: in 2007 when the 'We Believe' Warriors beat the Mavs, in 2011 when the Grizzlies topped the Spurs and in 2012 when the Sixers beat the Bulls.

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So, can the Wizards be next and take out the Philadelphia 76ers? Wizards head coach Scott Brooks likes his team's chances for a few reasons.

"We’re one of 16 teams that have a chance to win a championship. Is it the odds are against us? I don’t know. I mean, it’s happened before with an eighth seed over a one seed. It’s not like we’re going to do something that’s never happened. We’re excited about it. When you have the best backcourt in basketball, you have a chance to win every night," Brooks said.

That last point is one Brooks made several times after practice on Friday. He says that Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook are unrivaled as a guard combination. That would mean, for instance, that as a duo they are better than Kyrie Irving and James Harden of the Nets.

It's a fairly big claim, but certainly not entirely crazy at all. Beal was second in the NBA in scoring and an All-Star starter, while Westbrook led the league in assists and averaged a triple-double for the fourth time in his career. They are both stars by every definition, and they are leading a Wizards team that has won 18 of its last 25 games going back to the regular season.

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With those guys leading the charge, the rest of the Wizards' roster has settled into place. Brooks also mentioned second-year forward Rui Hachimura who he sees as "growing up in front of our eyes" alongside Beal and Westbrook. Brooks believes when his two guards play as well as they have, it allows the rest of the team to stick to the basics of what they were brought to Washington to do.

"I think they’re playing at a high level and it gives our role players the ability to be stars in their roles," Brooks said.

In order for the Wizards to beat the Sixers, they will probably need Beal and Westbrook to be at their best and for role players to step up. It won't be easy, but stranger things have happened.