The Sixers took on the Washington Wizards for the second time this year. The game began pretty ugly, to say the least. Both teams took turns bricking shots at each end of the floor. Bradley Beal and Ben Simmons began exchanging baskets, keeping the game at an equal playing field. That all changed once Seth Curry caught fire in the first quarter, hitting all 5 of his 5 3-point attempts. He continues to fit like a glove since he arrived here from Dallas.
The first quarter was labeled a success for the most part, as Ben Simmons and Seth Curry contributed 21 of the Sixers’ 32 points. The first period actually finished with a bit of a surprise as Terrance Ferguson checked in for some regular rotation minutes. He’s been out of the rotation for the entire year up to this point. It didn’t last long, however.
The second quarter featured a similar back-and-forth to we saw in the first period. Shake Milton began to heat up after hitting some perimeter shots. It ended up being a solid showing from Milton, who was struggling a bit with his shot in the young season. He helped pushed the lead to 10 points halfway through the second, prompting a Washington timeout.
The Sixers didn’t let up either. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid began putting some points on the board. They even had this awesome highlight where Simmons gave Embiid a beautiful entry pass, which led to a ferocious Embiid slam.
What a sequence. Beautiful pass from Ben Simmons leads to an Embiid poster. pic.twitter.com/NfBD8o2KAF— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) January 7, 2021
I gotta give the Sixers credit as well. While the season is still young they’ve done much better at putting away teams of lesser talent without letting up. This is a problem that has plagued the team for over the past few seasons.
The Sixers completely took over the second quarter from an offensive standpoint. Ben Simmons was aggressive in getting to the rim (which is a very welcome sight), Joel Embiid was dominant, Seth Curry couldn’t miss, and Shake Milton provided some great shot creation. Bradley Beal, however, was putting up one of the quietest 30-point-half performances I’ve seen in awhile. He was a big part in keeping Washington in this game.
Danny Green put the exclamation mark on a productive half of Sixers basketball with a buzzer-beating 3. They led 82-67 going into the second half.
Back to back games with a Danny Green buzzer beater. pic.twitter.com/yZ7J5JHPI5— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) January 7, 2021
Some of the notable halftime stats:
Seth Curry: 20 points, (7-8 FG, 6-6 3PT), 2 assists, plus-10
Shake Milton: 16 points (5-5 FG, 1-1 3PT), 3 assists, 1 steal, plus-7
Joel Embiid: 15 points (6-14 FG, 1-1 3PT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, plus-10
Ben Simmons: 12 points (5-5 FG), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, plus-12
Tobias Harris: 10 points (4-7 FG, 2-4 3PT), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, plus-11
The second half began with the Wizards cutting into the Sixers’ lead. Bradley Beal continued to score basket after basket until the Sixers responded with 3s from Danny Green and Joel Embiid. I would imagine that the team goal at this point was to put the game away, as they’re scheduled to play the Brooklyn Nets tomorrow night. The Sixers eventually pushed their lead to a game-high 21 points halfway through the third quarter.
Bradley Beal continued to will the Wizards into this game, however. The Sixers — with Danny Green tasked to defend him for the majority of the game — really couldn’t stop him. A 30-point half quickly turned into a 40-point game for Beal. That didn’t last long either, as Bradley Beal hit a pair of free throws to put him over the 50 point mark for the 4th time in his career. It was truly a special night for him as he surpassed his previous career-high. The 21-point lead was essentially cut in half as the Sixers led by 10 points heading into the final period.
The Sixers didn’t start off the quarter on a good note, like at all. Simmons missed a pair of layups and the Wizards began hitting their shots. The Sixers found themselves on the bad end of a 9-1 run to begin the period, forcing Doc Rivers to call a timeout. The timeout didn’t really do much for the Sixers’ struggling offense either, as the Wizards took a two-point lead after former Sixer Raul Neto drained a midrange shot. What lineup made the Sixers struggle? It was a lineup consisting of Russell Westbrook, Ish Smith, Raul Neto, Davis Bertans, and Robin Lopez.
The Sixers didn’t make any defensive adjustments either. Danny Green continued to guard Bradley Beal while Ben Simmons stayed glued to Russell Westbrook, who had 12 points through three quarters. One of biggest criticisms of Doc Rivers in the postseason was his lack of adjustments against the Denver Nuggets. That criticism was definitely showing tonight.
The Wizards — the team, not just Bradley Beal — began to gain some confidence as the game continued on. The teams exchanged shots on both ends of the basketball court. Embiid even had a pretty cool circus shot down the stretch.
Joel Embiid with an absolute circus shot. pic.twitter.com/dNzX4PJvIm— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) January 7, 2021
That said shot seemed to awaken the basketball monster that Joel Embiid is. He managed to go on a solo 6-0 run, to help put the Sixers up five points with over two minutes left to go in the game. The 2020-21 NBA season has had Joel Embiid playing like a legitimate MVP candidate, and this game was no exception. He went on to hit a massive 3 that seemed to shift momentum back on the Sixers’ side.
Joel Embiid continue to put his imprint on this game with a textbook entry pass to Ben Simmons, who finished an and-one layup to ice tonight’s game.
Joel Embiid with a beautiful entry pass to Ben Simmons, who likely hit the dagger field goal. pic.twitter.com/XTeYUorHi3— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) January 7, 2021
It wasn’t the prettiest win ever, but the Sixers got the job done. Danny Green — and their team defense — deserves a ton of credit as well, as they held a scorching hot Bradley Beal to only three points in the final quarter. Sixers won the game, 141-136. Here are the final notable Sixers’ stats for the game:
Joel Embiid: 38 points (11-20 FG, 3-4 3PT), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks, plus-14
Seth Curry: 28 points (11-14 FG, 6-7 3PT), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, plus-16
Ben Simmons: 17 points (7-9 FG), 6 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals, plus-6
Tobias Harris: 19 points (8-16 FG, 3-7 3PT), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, plus-7
Shake Milton: 19 points (6-9 FG, 1-3 3PT), 3 assists, 1 steal, minus-5
Danny Green: 15 points (5-10 FG, 5-8 3PT), 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, plus-14
The Sixers look to add to their now 5-game win streak as they travel to New York to take on the Brooklyn Nets; who will be without Kevin Durant. That game tips off Thursday evening at 7:30 PM EST.