February 6, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Following a rough recent stretch of five losses in their last six games, the Wizards welcomed to town everyone’s favorite slump buster, the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers – known recently for almost beating the Golden State Warriors – still hold the worst record in the league and are still directionless. Want to remind them how bad they are? Find Jahlil Okafor in the street after a game and remind him there’s a second half to this season.
I digress. A victory over seven win team would mean that the Wizards still have a pulse. That’s it.
The Wizards used hot shooting and solid bench play on their way to an end-to-end victory over the Sixers.
Washington got off to a strong start in the first quarter, shooting 64% from the floor, anchored by John Wall and Bradley Beal, who both scored 10 points each. The bench provided a lift, too, with 9 points, including 5 from Gary Neal. At the end of the first quarter, Washington lead by 20 points.
The second quarter saw much of the same. Despite their starters sitting for a considerable time, Washington’s bench – lead by Neal – helped maintain a double-digit lead. The Wizards lead by 13 at halftime.
In the third, the Wizards became unhinged and allowed the Sixers to completely alter the course of the game. Through poor ball control (10 turnovers in this quarter alone) and a general inability to stop guard penetration, Washington found itself on the wrong end of a 21-6 Philadelphia run. The Sixers were fueled over this period primarily by Ish Smith, who hit on 6 of his 8 field goals during the third and found Sixers shooters camped in the corners. At the height of the Sixers’ run, Washington’s lead had dwindled to 10.
Washington got back on track late in the fourth thanks to excellent play by Wall and Beal and completed a solid victory.
The Game’s Top Performer
After having his monster 41-point game against Golden State overshadowed by Steph Curry, Wall played an extremely balanced game against the 76ers on his way to his fourth career triple double.
Wall scored 18 points, tallied 10 assists, and pulled down 13 rebounds. Wall looked decisive all night and very confident in his short (3-5 from three-point range). With Washington’s next game scheduled for tomorrow night, it was also good to see Wall get extended period of rest during this easy victory.
A forgettable night for..
It’s hard to quibble with the team’s performance tonight, but if I have to bestow this on anyone, it’s Otto Porter. Otto didn’t play poorly – he was just lost among some spectacular performances from other Wizards players.
Porter played fewer minutes (25) than all other starters and scored just 5 points on 2-8 shooting.
– Bradley Beal was back in the starting lineup last night for the first time since December 9th and played up to his full potential. Beal scored 22 points on 10-16 shooting, including back-to-back breakaway dunks in the third quarter. While Beal didn’t find his distance from long range, it was good to see him comfortable taking opponents off the dribble and bursting into the lane. Beal mentioned during a halftime interview that he was excited to see his minutes being increased. Let’s hope he can remain consistent (and healthy).
– Two things the Sixers have working for them are shot blocking and general athleticism. Nerlens Noel and Jerami Grant are both explosive leapers and they used that ability to combine for 6 blocks, including several on Marcin Gortat.
– Jared Dudley shot 2-3 from three-point range, yet there’s still no place in All-Star Weekend for the third best shooter from that distance. A damn shame.