The Sixers lost to the Washington Wizards on Thursday evening by a final score of 97 to 94.
The game ended up being a lot closer than it looked like it was going to be. It just wasn't looking like the Sixers' night. Philadelphia allowed Marcus Thornton to drill a three on an inbounds play with 0.6 remaining in the first half to make it 58-39 at the break. Meanwhile, the Sixers had shot an abysmal 2-19 from beyond the arc in the first two quarters. The team was getting some open looks, too, but they couldn't find the ocean. Making matters worse, Philadelphia's defense was often lackadaisical and bad.
Things turned around in the second half. The Sixers were able to eventually cut the lead by actually playing defense. They hung around long enough to even tie the game. Hollis Thompson had a nice tip in with Marcin Gortat lurking to even the score. Unfortunately for the Sixers they were never able to fully take control of the game despite having the opportunity to do so. Jerami Grant was sent to the line after getting fouled by John Wall with 26.7 left. Grant missed both and instead of the Sixers going ahead or at least tying it up, Washington retained the lead at 90-89. The Sixers stayed alive when Thompson hit a desperation three off the inbounds pass to make the game 93-92 but Washington never faltered and finished the game strong.
There's a lot to discuss so let's just get right to it.
• Grant missing both of those free throws was brutal. You gotta hit at least one there. I'm a big Jerami fan, but that was really terrible. In fairness to Grant, this was his first game back since suffering a concussion.
• The Sixers didn't deserve to win this one but Gortat sure did get away with a lot of BS towards the end of the game. It started when he last touched a ball that went out of bounds and the Wiz kept possession. Fortunately they missed the shot. Then Gortat puts Nerlens Noel in a headlock when Noel was going for an offensive rebound but it was Noel who got called for the foul. Lastly, Gortat really sold a push in the back and got two undeserved shots at the free throw line. Once again the ball didn't lie and he missed. It's bad enough that Gortat is a Sixers killer at times. It's even worse when the refs are wrongly helping him.
• I'm not much of a Hollis Thompson fan, but man did he hit some really clutch shots down the stretch tonight. He deserves a lot of credit for the Sixers being able to hang around. Good on you, Hollis. (I really hope Michael Levin isn't reading this.)
• Part of what sparked the Sixers' late comeback attempt was a flagrant-2 foul on Markieff Morris. The big man whacked the crap out of Isaiah Canaan's head on a fast break and rightfully got ejected. It should be noted here that Markieff is a Cowboys fan.
• It took me too long in this recap to get to Nerlens. The guy played a good game tonight. He finished with 14 points on 7-11 shooting. He also had 16 rebounds, seven (!) steals, and two assists. His +12 rating was the best of any Sixers player tonight. I really liked how he took it right at Gortat early on despite the Polish big men having a beefier frame. He also showed some nice touch by hitting a jumper from the top of the paint. If he can continue to hit that shot, that'd be great for his career.
• Speaking of Noel's jumper, Alaa Abdelnaby made a point during the game that he should be taking more of those. He said that the Sixers have the "unfortunate luxury" of being such a bad team that he should spend time working on his game. I agree with Alaa. I'd like to see Nerlens be a little more aggressive with that shot if he's given the space. No need to be so conservative and look to pass.
• This is pretty cool:
• It was a rough shooting night for most Sixers players. Here are your players with more shots than points: Ish Smith 9-25 (20 points), Carl Landry 0-2 (zero points), T.J. McConnell 3-10 (six points), and Kendall Marshall 1-4 (three points).
• Sixers overlord Jerry Colangelo was sitting court-side at the game tonight, if you care about that.
• Sonny Weems dunked. Alright.
Sonny rises in the east and sets on the rim. (CSN) https://t.co/qwu3ZKqPZ7— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) March 17, 2016
• Washington swept the season series this year. 4-0. Bleh.
• Programming note: I won't be recapping another Sixers game until the final one of the season. See you then.
Up Next: The Sixers play again tomorrow night when the Oklahoma City Thunder come to town. 14 games left!