The Washington Times - December 13, 2008, 07:07PM

The Wizards in just a while will take on the hosting Philadelphia 76ers, who just this morning learned that head coach Mo Cheeks had been fired after a 9-14 start and replaced with assistant general manager Tony DiLeo on an interim basis.



Cheeks just last season led his team to the seventh seed in the playoffs after a dramatic turnaround dismal start, and then signed an extension in the summer. But when the Sixers didn’t get off to the start that was expected after the big off-season pickup of Elton Brand, Cheeks was the fall guy.


“I felt we were not progressing the way we had wanted to progress,” team presiden Ed Stefanski said at his press conference this evening.”I didn’t feel on the floor we were executing the philosophy we wanted to have as Sixers basketball.”


As Antawn Jamison said when we were talking in the locker room just a few minutes ago, “This is the same thing we heard two weeks ago isn’t it?”


The common belief is that Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, who worked for Stefanski in New Jersey, will be one of the leading candidates for the Philly job this summer.


Wizards coach Ed Tapscott, who two weeks ago took over for the fired Jordan, said his team must guard against an emotional erruption from Philly, who likely will want to prove that they weren’t as bad as management thought they were under Cheeks. But he said his main message to the Wizards will be for them to focus on themselves, and improving in the little things that have hurt them so far during their 4-16 start.


The same starters will go for the Wizards: Butler, Jamison, McGee, Stevenson and Dixon.


Oleksiy Pecherov will be the inactive once again. In the locker room just a bit ago, Pecherov — who has played in only four games this season and despite working hard in practices remains behind in picking up the team’s defensive schemes — joked with Jamison: “You know, I a tourist. I a tourist,” he said in his Ukranian accent. Jamison asked what he ment and Pesh said. “You know, I travel, I stay in nice hotels, I eat nice food, I cheer for each and every one of you. I don’t play. I a tourist.”