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Sixers’ lack of size without Embiid leads to a party at the rim for Wizards

Despite another great scoring output from Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers lacked size without Joel Embiid and defense without De’Anthony Melton in a home loss to the Wizards.

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sixers split their home-and-home against the Washington Wizards with a 121-111 loss Wednesday night. Philly went into this game once again shorthanded; Joel Embiid missed his second straight game with a non-COVID illness and De’Anthony Melton sat out with lower back stiffness. Tyrese Maxey was once again excellent, putting up 32 points on 11 of 20 shooting, but the Sixers struggled defensively all night, as Kristaps Porzingis and Bradley Beal put up 30 and 29 points, respectively.

Here are some instant observations from the loss.

First Quarter

  • Despite making their first five shots from the field, the Sixers didn’t get into much of a flow offensively early on. They tried to replicate De’Anthony Melton’s rolling with both Matisse Thybulle and Shake Milton, but neither player was effective in that role.
  • Despite the team struggling at the rim, Tyrese Maxey had his shot falling early. He had 10 in the first.
  • Kristaps Porzingis picked up right where he left off last game in taking advantage of the Sixers’ lack of size. He went 4 of 5 with 11 points in the first quarter while being guarded by P.J. Tucker.

Second Quarter

  • The Sixers’ lack of size continued to a problem early in the second. The combo of Montrezl Harrell and Georges Niang were not giving any sort of resistance, as Washington made their first five shots in the paint to start the quarter. Paul Reed finally saw some action after Tucker picked up his third foul. His impact was felt immediately, as the Sixers capped off a 9-0 run to cut the Wizard lead to three.
  • It feels like even when the Sixers have gotten solid scoring contributions from their bench, it hasn’t come early and that was certainly the case in the first half without Melton. Washington’s bench outscored the Sixers’ 24-12 in the first half.

Third Quarter

  • Some quick life from the Sixers out of halftime as they got another double-digit quarter from Maxey. Philly moved the ball well in the third quarter, and this resulted in better outside shooting. They were 8 of 12 from downtown in the third quarter, closing the Wizards’ lead to just one going into the fourth.
  • Matisse Thybulle went to the locker room very early in the third. He returned to the Sixers bench but not the game, as the Wizards took advantage of his absence on the defensive end. Bradley Beal, who had just nine points in the first half, came alive by putting up 12 points of his own in the third quarter.
  • It seemed like Shake Milton was asked to play the roles of both Melton and Thybulle, which he struggled to do, however he was also able to do THIS as he ended the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

  • Another injury scare as Harden went to the locker room in between the third and fourth quarters, but he did return to the game.
  • Not sure why Doc Rivers went back to Harrell to start the fourth quarter, as the Wizards went back to pounding the paint when he checked in. It definitely felt like Paul Reed should have been the substitution based on how the first half went.
  • The Sixers were able to hang around in this game much longer than they probably should have because of some hot outside shooting. It wasn’t just Maxey, the Sixers shot 56 percent from beyond the arc as team. They just couldn’t get the stops to support the hot shooting.

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