The Sixers walked into the Capital One Arena like they had a win in the bag without even having to play the game. They were in for a rude awakening as they dropped one to the struggling Wizards, 119-113. This was the Sixers’ 10th straight loss in Washington — yes, you read that correctly.
Things were going according to plan in the first quarter. The Sixers were outmuscling the Wizards for most of the opening frame and led 33-25 thanks in part to Embiid’s physicality in the post. Tobias Harris looked confident in his shot, not overthinking things and shooting as soon as he touched the ball. He led all scorers with 10 points. Also of note, Raul Neto received the backup point guard minutes for the entirety of the night, looking solid for the most part and for a long period being the only bench player with the ability to score.
The script completely flipped in the second quarter. The Wizards started putting pressure on the Sixers early, but Philadelphia was able to weather the storm for a portion of the quarter, and then Davis Bertans decided to play superhero. The offseason trade acquisition from San Antonio shot the lights out, going 7-of-7 from the field and 5-of-5 from deep for 19 points in the second quarter alone. If Bertans was Batman, then he found his Robin in rookie Rui Hachimura. At one point, the duo was responsible for 22 straight Wizards points. By the end of the half, the Sixers found themselves trailing by double digits, down 61-51.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair, as neither team was really able to gain much traction. Embiid continued to put up numbers, but his sloppiness did him in for much of the second half and killed the Sixers every time they looked to be making progress. The Wizards’ lead stood at ten after the third and it felt like the Sixers had all but given up to be completely honest.
Once again, it seemed like the Wizards had all but wrapped up this game, but the Sixers scratched and clawed their way back into it late. A 10-0 run by the Sixers cut the Washington lead to only 5 points, but once again, ill-timed turnovers killed them late in the game. Tobias Harris impressed all night, scoring a season-high 33 points, but the rest of the team struggled to keep up with his contributions. Joel Embiid’s solid 26-point, 21-rebound stat line says he had a nice game, but the game tape says otherwise. Just an overall bad game for a team that should have been able to control an injured team like the Wizards with very low expectations.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the two players that should be counted on most in big moments, turned the ball over 15 times against statistically the worst defense in the league. There are no excuses, the execution wasn’t remotely close to good enough and it needs to be fixed in a hurry.
The Sixers will be back in action at home on Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This seems like the perfect opportunity for a statement game to prove the sky isn’t falling after one bad loss.