For the first time since the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl, a Philadelphia sports team lost a regular season game in regulation.
The final box score reads “Washington Wizards 109, Philadelphia 76ers 94”, but it could have (and maybe should have) been a lot worse than that.
For the better part of tonight’s game, the Sixers couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean. They shot 37.5 percent from the floor in the first half - a terrible rate until you consider the fact that they shot 36 percent from the field for the entire game.
Thing was, they entered the second quarter down just two to a Wizards team that was making virtually everything they attempted. When Washington wasn’t knocking down wide-open threes, they were pick-and-rolling the Sixers to oblivion. The Wizards shot 60 percent over the first two quarters, leading to a flurry of tweets by Sixers’ fans asking some variation of the question “Will the Wizards ever miss again?”
Washington didn’t miss much in the 2nd quarter, ending the period on a 17-4 run and taking a 67-48 lead into the locker room. Two minutes into the second half, Joel Embiid picked up foul No. 4, the Sixers went the first 4:30 of the third quarter without a field goal, and the game was looking like the classic NBA SEGABABA loss.
However, the momentum shifted late in the third quarter when Richaun Holmes checked in with 3:39 left in the period. By the time the clock read zero, Brett Brown’s charges ripped off a 13-4 run (with Holmes and Simmons shining during the stretch), and Philadelphia found itself down just 14 with a quarter to go.
A couple of Saric 3s and a Joel Embiid And-1 late in the fourth quarter cut the Wizards lead to eight, but Washington (and, most notably, Bradley Beal, who finished with a team-high 24 points) made just enough shots in the final period to hold off the Sixers.
On the bright side, the 76ers could have easily laid down once the lead ballooned to 23 points, so fighting back to cut the deficit to eight should count for something. And for the third straight time, Embiid put up a pretty darn good stat line (25/10/4) on the second leg of a back-to-back (though he did have a few ill-advised turnovers).
The next 24 hours is going to be a time filled with folks second-guessing Brett Brown’s decision to hold Richaun Holmes out until the 2nd half. But nearly everything that left the Wizards’ hands in the first half fell through the net, so I’m not exactly sure how much of a difference Holmes would have made.
The Sixers are back at it in a couple of days as their three-game road trip continues with a date against the Miami Heat on Tuesday.
- Dario Saric’s shot wasn’t falling tonight, but he was an absolute monster on the glass (seven offensive rebounds).
- Ben Simmons 16/8/8 line will probably get lost in the shuffle, but it shouldn’t. His court vision was excellent tonight, and he was able to probe the Wizards’ defense and create quite a bit of offense for himself and his teammates.
- We got “Ill-Advised Shots Marco” Belinelli tonight (3-for-10 from the field, 2-for-7 from deep) - I’m hoping he exercises some better discretion going forward.
- Welcome back, Ersan Ilyasova.