January 14, 2017 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC
The last time the Washington basketball team had an 11 game or longer home winning streak? April 7, 1989 when they concluded their 15th straight home win as the Bullets. Bradley Beal credited the crowd for part of the reason why they are able to consistently comeback from double-digit deficits, which they did for the tenth time today. “Our crowd has been amazing,” Beal said. “We feel that energy and we’re always going to continue to need their support.”
Without Joel Embiid (scheduled rest), the Philadelphia Sixers turned to former third overall pick Jahlil Okafor as the starting center. Okafor had not played in the previous four games due to a coach’s decision but was an extreme factor early. The former Duke Blue Devil had 9 points on four shot attempts in six minutes in the fourth quarter. Behind chants of “Trust the Process”, Philly took a 22-11 lead midway through the quarter and that was just the beginning.
With Marcin Gortat and Jason Smith both picking up two fouls early, Scott Brooks was forced to insert Andrew Nicholson into the game. Nicholson had not played in the previous three games due to coach’s decision but got an opportunity tonight at center.
Tonight, also saw the return of Tomas Satoransky as Brooks went five deep into his bench. Satoransky missed seven of the past eight games due to coach’s decision as well as last two games with the flu. Even though Sato might be feeling better, the Wizards were probably sick to their stomach after the first twelve minutes of play because they trailed 30-21.
Ersan Ilyasova and Jahlil Okafor continued to torment Washington in the second quarter with a combined 14 points. Ilyasova had 18 in the first half in total and Okafor had 14 as he closed in on his season-high of 19, which came against the Wizards in November. With 6:31 left to play in the quarter, the Sixers were up 45-32 as the home team shot below 30 percent from the field.
Then the House of Guards took over. Washington ended the half on a 22-9 run as Wall and Beal combined for 21 points in less than 19 minutes in the quarter. Wall was certainly adjusting his game early to deal with a pinkie injury on his right hand, but it did not stop him from throwing down this thunderous dunk. After 18 minutes of terrible play, the home team went into halftime tied at 56.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 15, 2017
Scott Brooks must have a really good halftime speech because the Wizards have done a nice job to start the third quarter in recent games (i.e. Bucks and Bulls). After a 1 of 5 start from the field, Wall was 8 of 12 including three straight three-pointers that had him swagging his way back to the bench. Washington was up 80-65 and the Wizards never looked back.
— CSN Wizards (@CSNWizards) January 15, 2017
There was a quick scare late in the quarter as Otto Porter exited the game with a strained right hip injury. Do not fret as the wing responded “for sure” when I asked if he would be able to play Monday against the Blazers. Coach Brooks was not sure of his status when asked immediately after the game but did not seem too worried.
Kelly Oubre was the second Wizards to put Gerald Henderson in retirement with this poster dunk.
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) January 15, 2017
Much needed rest for starters was given because of the Wizards double-digit lead on the Sixers. None of the starting five played more than 30 minutes thanks to Philadelphia going stone cold in the second half. Wall said it felt like a day off, while Beal and Morris commented that it was nice to see the rookies get an opportunity to play. The home team was victorious by a score of 109-93.
#WizSixers in a Tweet
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) January 15, 2017
The Game’s Top Performer
John Wall – 25 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals.
“His legs are enough, but when his shots are going, it’s a whole different dimension to his game.” – Sixers center Nerlens Noel on John Wall.
That pretty much sums it up. After beginning the game 1 of 5 in the first quarter, Wall became better accustomed to the small splint joining his right pinkie and ring fingers. He took over the third quarter that Washington won 30-15 especially with three three-pointers in a 1:41 stretch. In short, it is John Wall’s DC and we are all just living in it.
A forgettable night for..
He was not terrible but if you take away the couple of mid-range jump shots he made towards the end of his first half stint, he was not great. Nicholson was forced to play center with Gortat and Smith in foul trouble and he was getting bodied badly and giving up offensive rebounds. Luckily, it did not matter.
Key Stat of the Night
The 76ers had 37 points in the second half. They had 30 in the first quarter alone, which was a bad sign for a team that only averages 99.3 in the entire game.
Check out what Scott Brooks had to say about the second half defense:
“Good defense. I thought we did a better job of making them miss. It always goes back to when I tell our guys that the schemes – the number one scheme that we have to continue to focus on is the play hard scheme, and then we can get into our coverages. I thought we didn’t have any mishaps in transition, our switches were on point, we didn’t give up open threes — in the first half we did – and that’s the difference of the ballgame right there. I thought the guys really responded after halftime.”
Washington will look to put their home streak on the line against the Portland Trail Blazers as they play on Martin Luther King Jr. day. Brooks kidded that he hopes Damian Lillard sits out to continue the Wizards recent streak of missing out on key players to the opposing team. The Trail Blazers will be the Wizards toughest home foe during this streak since they topped the Clippers in mid-December. Containing Lillard and CJ McCollum will be key, but easier said than done.