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Sixers’ road winning streak ends in Washington

The Sixers drop the matinee game.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers embodied Philadelphia this afternoon: they were sluggish, caught off guard, surprised this game had a 2 p.m. tipoff and seemingly not in a great mental space after the Eagles got crushed in Tampa yesterday.

A 117-98 loss to the Wizards isn’t quite the palette cleanser that the Philadelphia sports community needed.

The Sixers had won seven straight road games, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope woke up today, decided he was going to be Devin Booker in the first half and carry Washington to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Another one in the loss column brings the Sixers’ record to 25-18 on the season. Kyle Kuzma had a double-double with 15 and 16 The laughingstock of the NBA showed up the Sixers. Bad vibes!

Here are few rumblings and observations from the game that was:

- Seth Curry should shoot the ball more. This isn’t a knock on Curry as much as it is a knock on Doc Rivers’ lack of creativity and substance as head coach. Curry’s second in the history of the NBA in three-point percentage, coming into this game shooting 44.2 percent from deep for his career. He’s proved to be a lethal mid-range shooter this season too. Ahead of this game, Curry has been shooting 56.7 percent on shots from 10 to 16 feet from the rim and 58.8 percent on shots from 16 feet to the three-point line, per basketball-reference. There’s an inflection point where an uptick in volume threatens to have a negative effect on efficiency, but do the Sixers have any other chance than to let Curry cook until potential trades are made over the next three weeks? The dude took nine shots and the team lost by 19. Figure it out.

- Northeast Philly’s own Charlie Brown Jr. is a delight to watch. Coming from a city with such a rich basketball tapestry, it’s great to see him thriving for the Sixers. An undrafted player out of Saint Joe’s, Brown Jr. has those Big 5 roots that fans eat up. The “high-energy” billing in the NBA is typically applied to reserve big men who can come in, crash the boards and throw down a couple of oops. Sixes-era Richaun Holmes comes to mind. Brown Jr. fits that billing though. He operated as the sixth man in Rivers’ rotation this afternoon, flying around the court, being a willing defender and flaunting the best haircut in Philadelphia sports.

He’s putting dudes in the spin zone too:

The Sixers’ bench can frequently be the most infuriating facet of my life, but giving players like Brown Jr. and Isaiah Joe some regular season run, playing through the rocky path of a young player in this league, could provide dividends come the postseason.

- “Bradley Beal, you are a Philadelphia 76er.”

- This did not end up being the Raul Neto Revenge Game, as the former Sixer scored just six points in 22 minutes. Neto had a plus-minus of -22 in 26 minutes against the Celtics in the 2020 playoffs. How I detest the 2020 Sixers! I was one of those people at the arena Friday night giving Al Horford hell. I was 25 during that season and aged five years.

- I said a lot of positive things here despite being mad at the loss. More than usual for sure! Washington’s scoring was well-rounded and simply out-gunned the Sixers. The oft-ridiculed Tobias Harris did little to provide the scoring punch that should be the cornerstone of his game. The difference was repugnant. Matisse Tybulle sitting out with a right shoulder sprain and the continued absence of Ben Simmons for Ben Simmons reasons was apparent on that end of the court. I’d have booed them if they played like this in Philly and I was in attendance. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

- It’d be unethical, given the super serious journalist that I am, to write about a Sixers game without mentioning the brilliance of Joel Embiid. He dropped 32 points. It marks the 10th time in his last 11 games that he’s scored at least 30 points. The lone game he didn’t was Friday night’s win over the Celtics where he scored 25 in an easy win where the team took the foot off the pedal a bit in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys were eliminated in the NFL playoffs yesterday. It’s time to center all my sports hatred on the Nuggets and propel the grassroots campaign that will end with Joel Embiid receiving MVP honors.

- There are 24 days until the NBA trade deadline. The Sixers’ front office should listen to our fearless leader Paul Hudrick: