In what is becoming one of the NBA's most heated rivalries, the Washington Bullets and Philadelphia 76ers will meet tonight in the City of Brotherly Love for the first time since last year's playoffs.

The 8 p.m. contest (WDCA-TV-20) will give area fans their first regular season look at the revised 76ers, who have tried to improve by discarding two of the top players.

Forward George McGinnis is now with the Devener Nuggets (in exchange for Bobby Jones) and Lloyd Free has noved to the San Diego Clippers.

Jones starts at McGinnis' spot Henry Bibby, once a starter, has become the third guard, replacing Free. Rookie Maurice Cheeks was the starter ahead of Bibby in the season opener.

Philadelphia lost to the Bullets in six games last spring, but Julius Erving claims this is a revitalized team, thanks to Coach Billy Cunningham's newly installed offense and better direction.

Most of the offensive flow now centers around Erving, who no longer has to worry about sharing the ball with McGinnis. The club's pivotmen also are allowed to shoot more and Jones has been trying to set an example with his passing and unselfish play.

The Bullets are upset that Philly has been picked ahead of them to not only win the Atlantic Division but the NBA title.

They feel that until the 76ers show they can beat Washington consistently, the Bullets should be considered the better club.