The Sixers welcomed back the Eastern Conference Player of the month Joel Embiid back to the lineup as they wrapped up a five-game home stand against the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards were without their leading scorer Bradley Beal, as he is out at least a week with a wrist injury. Sixers guard Seth Curry was a late scratch with back spasms.
Joel Embiid had 27-14-6, but struggled from the outside and couldn’t come up with the bucket the Sixers needed, allowing Washington to steal a win.
Here are some observations from the Sixers 106-103 loss to Washington
- A slow start for the Sixers offensively had Washington jump out to an early lead. Embiid got off to a 1-6 start. Philly generated good looks in the first quarter, but shots didn’t start falling until the last two minutes, where they shot 4-5 from the field.
- Tyrese Maxey had a dynamic first quarter, scoring 12 in the frame including 2-2 from downtown. He’s made the most of the minutes he shares with Andre Drummond, using that connection to get downhill to the basket. The most encouraging part of his game this year is his growing comfort taking the step-back three.
Tyrese Maxey with the step-back three:— Sergen H. Kumaş (@sergenkumas) February 3, 2022
It’s nice having a point guard who’s willing to shoot threes.
- Down Shake Milton, Seth Curry, and Furkan Korkmaz, the backup point guard minutes went to Myles Powell. Washington pushed their lead back to nine. Not that this was all Powell’s fault. Both Harris and Georges Niang kept committing offensive fouls that killed the offense’s momentum.
- The Sixers played lackluster defense in the first half. Kyle Kuzma gashed them, putting up 17 points on 58.3 percent shooting.
- Really good Isaiah Joe minutes. I’ve said it all season, but he really deserves a chance to be a part of the regular rotation.
Awesome pass from Joel Embiid to create a corner 3 right here: pic.twitter.com/LSYSzpwwPM— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) February 3, 2022
- The Big Fella made his presence known in the second quarter after a slow start. He came back with nine second-quarter points and found his teammates on the perimeter. He was only able to cut the Wizards lead to five at the half.
- Philly started the second half on a 10-2 run, with eight of those points coming from Embiid. While he tormented Daniel Gafford getting to the basket, this wasn’t his best game in terms of hitting jumpers. The offense went stagnant and the Sixers swapped leads with Washington in the third.
Joel, come on, man.— Sergen H. Kumaş (@sergenkumas) February 3, 2022
This is unfair:
- Kyle Kuzma’s scoring pace slowed down, but he still hit two circus shots at the end of the shot clock in the third, good enough for the Wizards to hold a two-point lead heading into the fourth.
- The Sixers started the fourth quarter with a lineup of Isaiah Joe, Danny Green, Georges Niang, Tobias Harris, and Andre Drummond. If that isn’t a sign to canvas the backup point guard market I don’t know what is. Staggering Maxey and Embiid would also make this need look a lot less dire.
- Maxey and Embiid checked back in down three, and the Sixers went on a 10-0 to retake the lead, tale as old as time.
- Embiid found Niang cutting to the dunker spot twice in the fourth, something we’ve seen a lot from Matisse Thybulle this season. This has been one of the most impressive additions to Embiid’s game this year.
Beautiful dime by Joel Embiid to give the Sixers the lead in the fourth. pic.twitter.com/UAM0WtrJDD— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) February 3, 2022
- The Sixers had chances, but just couldn’t put Washington away. Their crunch time offense was once again stagnant, especially with Embiid struggling from the outside in this game. Tyrese Maxey only had two shot attempts in the fourth quarter, which feels baffling given his performance against Memphis.
- Credit to Kyle Kuzma for defending Embiid without fouling him with the game on the line. Kuzma was the Wizards’ hero tonight, with 24 points on 10-19 shooting, going 4-6 from downtown along with seven rebounds.
- This is going to be one the Sixers wish they had back, as the schedule only gets harder in February.