Up 6 with under a minute left to play, the 76ers found a way to lose to the previously winless Washington Wizards. John Wall made a fantastic and-1 off of a defensive breakdown and Cartier Martin made a circus shot to send the game into overtime. Brand scored 4 points in the extra period, but fouled out with 7 seconds to go on the Andray Blatche free throws that would put the Wizards ahead for good.
Of all the losses, and at 0-4 they're starting to pile up fairly quickly, and in unique ways, this was the hardest to stomach. Against a team that shouldn't be in contention to make the playoffs, the Sixers were well-rested and came out on fire, jumping out to a 14 point lead midway through the first quarter. Some sloppy passing led to some transition opportunities for Wall, and some great shooting from Nick Young brought the Wizards back quickly.
Some quick thoughts after the jump.
- I thought Jrue did a good job on Wall in the half-court, for the most part. There were some breakdowns (Wall's and-1 late in the 4th), and some misfires on the pick and roll. But in the half-court, I thought Jrue did a good job of denying Wall dribble penetration. On the flip side, I thought Jrue struggled at times off the ball, particularly on Nick Young in the second quarter.
- Overall, I thought Jrue played a great game. Not perfect, particularly due to some sloppy turnovers at times. A couple of lazy passes in the 3rd helped Washington extend their lead, and that turnover with under a minute left in regulation helped Washington erase the deficit quickly. That being said, he carried the Sixers in the 4th, played good defense against a very tough opponent, and made an array of dazzling passes throughout.
- Similarly, I thought Evan played surprisingly good defense against Wall during that time in the second half he was matched up against him. Again, Wall beat him at times, but when matched up in isolation situations, I thought Turner moved his feet very well, a good sign on Turner's defensive potential going forward.
- Lou obviously carried the team offensively throughout the 4th, and his ability to get to the line is sorely needed for a team that otherwise hasn't been getting there. Lou's averaging 11.7 free throws made through 4 games this season. The next highest on the team is Elton Brand at 2.4.
- Speaking of Elton Brand, another terrific game from him. 21 points on 11 shots, 9 rebounds, 4 steals and a block. Can Elton play his way into trade-ability ? Probably not, but it's nice to see this Elton over last years.
- I thought Iguodala's defense was suspect on the last play in regulation. Tried too hard to draw the foul, which unless it's blatantly obvious the refs aren't going to call in that stage of the game (ask Bryon Russell). Put your hands up and let a scrub who has made 28 three's in his professional career make a contested shot to beat you. *edit* after watching the replay a few more times, I think Iguodala was trying to foul Martin before he got the shot off, and he backed off once Martin started getting the shot up because he didn't want him to go to the line for 3, not that he was trying to draw the foul.
- The Sixers starting lineup outscored the Wizards by 14 to start the game. That's the only time the starting lineup (either variation of the starting lineup) has outscored the opposition to start a half in any of the 4 games. They've lost the other 7 rotations.
- Numbers: Wall picked up 8 steals in the second half. The Sixers shot 55% from the field and lost, they were 7-1 when shooting 55% or higher last year. The 22 turnovers were a big reason for the loss (the Sixers only committed 22 turnovers or more once last year), as were the 30 personal fouls the Sixers committed and the 43 free throw attempts the Wizards attempted. No opponent attempted greater than 41 free throws against the Sixers last year. Iguodala was 1-7 on shots beyond 16 feet.