The Washington Wizards took the lead on the opening bucket and never looked back, downing the Sixers in impressive fashion 116-102 with the Wizards connecting on a very impressive 18 three point shots during the game.
The Wizards got off to a hot start and instantly looked like a completely different team with Nene in the line-up. Nene gave them a strong physical presence down low that the Wiz had sorely missed, and while the Sixers front court is certainly nothing to behold, the Wizards were able to bang down low and have their way early in impressive fashion. Starters Nene and Marcin Gortat combined for 12-22 shooting and 29 points. Also of note, in last week's clash with the Sixers, the Wizards started Travis Booker at power forward. Today, Booker was given the DNP-CD distinction Kwame Brown knows all too well.
In addition to having success down low, the Wizards also found many open threes to capitalize on. One would assume that a team that starts off three for four from beyond the arc would not continue to drain threes at such a high rate but tonight that would not be that far off.
After trailing by double digits in the first quarter, the Sixers would try to rally in the second quarter led by Daniel Orton off the bench and a sudden brief hot streak for maligned shooting guard James Anderson. Unfortunately for Orton, his day would end after the first half with knee soreness. He would not return to the game, and his status for Friday's anticipated game against Cleveland and the returning Andrew Bynum remains uncertain.
Rookie sensation Michael Carter-Williams struggled offensively. He ended the first half a horribly inefficient 2-11 from the field for five points and his day would not get all that much better in the second half, ending the game 8-21 for 19 points. In addition to his scoring, MCW had five rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and a block on the day.
At the half, the Sixers trailed 60-51.
The third quarter saw the Sixers come the closest they would come in the game to overcoming the Wizards' lead. The Sixers managed an 11-3 run to cut the deficit to four points. The run would be capped off in rather odd fashion. With the ball threatening to bounce out of bounds in his own half, Gortat saw an opportunity to run down and make the play. Perhaps he misjudged who was behind him. Perhaps he confused which end of the court he was supposed to attack. Whatever the reason, Gortat produced an absolutely marvelous no look pass to an all-too-eager Spencer Hawes who converted the pass into an easy layup and two points for the Sixers.
The Sixers would be unable to capitalize off the comedy error, though, and after closing out the third quarter on a 7-0 run, the Wizards entered the final quarter of the game with an 89-76 lead.
The Wizards continued their run into the fourth quarter and continued to build on a lead they would never come close to relinquishing. Most notably in the fourth quarter was the Sixers sloppy play with the ball. Of the twenty-one total Sixers turnovers, one particularly cringe-worthy one came when Evan Turner lost the ball leading to an Al Harrington breakaway. Harrington was going to get the easy bucket thanks to Turner's sloppy turnover and the Sixers' poor transition defense, but Turner compounded the issue by fouling Harrington at the end giving him an and-1. The day was not all bad for Turner, though. He had a fine day on the offensive side of things, shooting a nicely efficient 9-13 for 24 points in addition to earning a team high six free throws on the night.
The game would from then on play out methodically and the Wizards cruised to the inevitable 116-102 final score line. The road side will be happy with the first win of their season, while the home side will be happy with another game under the belts and another opportunity for MCW, Tony Wroten, and others to get some playing time, learn from mistakes and poor outings, and develop into NBA players.
Up next for the Sixers is the much dreaded Bynum Bowl as the Cleveland Cavaliers will come to town on Friday night at 7:00 and yes, Andrew Bynum is expected to play in Philadelphia. For those going to that game, please behave yourselves, and do not shout anything you would not want your mother to hear.