Monday night, a Shake Milton 3-pointer with seconds remaining saved the Sixers from blowing their second straight double-digit fourth-quarter lead to begin the Orlando restart. While wins and losses in these seeding games don’t matter too much for Philadelphia, the fact remains that playoffs are less than two weeks away and the Sixers look anything but ready.
The Sixers are supposed to hang their hats on the defensive end, but they’ve allowed at least 127 points in each of the first two games. Ben Simmons is expected to make the All-NBA Defensive First Team, but he has been as ineffective defensively during these past two games as we’ve ever seen him as a professional.
Offensively, the spacing has been as horrendous as ever and the new-look starting lineup’s play has been “uneven,” at best. You can say screaming matches on the sidelines are “normal, family interactions,” but I don’t see those taking place when I tune in to watch Toronto or one of the LA teams. We have no indications that head coach Brett Brown has defined the roles within the rotation. Haven’t we given up on Josh Richardson as a primary ball handler yet? Is Raul Neto really going to be a thing? Aside from consistent production from Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, everything else seems to be up in the air.
Fortunately, Sixers fans receive a brief reprieve from all of those worries as the team takes on the Washington Wizards this afternoon. The Wizards were not exactly worldbeaters to begin with this season, and with Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans not participating in the Orlando restart, Washington is left with a roster consisting of former Process heartthrob Ish Smith and a bunch of youngsters and fairly recent G League participants. Washington is 0-3 thus far in seeding games, losing by at least eight points to each of the not-exactly-murderer’s-row of Phoenix, Brooklyn, and Indiana.
So if the concept of a “get-right” game exists for the Sixers, this is it. On the other hand, it is ostensibly a Sixers road game, so don’t be shocked if Rui Hachimura goes off for a career-high 35 points in a Wizards victory.
Philadelphia: Mike Scott - out (knee); Zhaire Smith - out (knee); Glenn Robinson III - doubtful (hip pointer)
Washington: John Wall - out (achilles); Bradley Beal - out (shoulder); Davis Bertans - out (personal); Garrison Mathews - out (personal); Gary Payton II - out (COVID-19)
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards
Where: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, FL (The Bubble)
When: 4:00pm ET
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBA TV
Listen: 97.5 The Fanatic