Here is your roundup of recaps from the Wizards' 92-84 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last night. Apologies for the delay -- we were shooting "Press Row," and we had some publishing issues. As always, check out our StoryStream and see interviews from John Wall, Martell Webster, Emeka Okafor and Randy Wittman.
"Whenever you are missing key guys, you're always affected. But I don't really blame it on that," Emeka Okafor said after recording his 11th double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. "It just wasn't us tonight. Just didn't look right. I can't really explain. It was like we were a step behind the whole game."
So with Bradley Beal out due to a sprained wrist, Randy Wittman went with Garrett Temple at the 2. Was it putting Jordan Crawford in his place? Letting him know that his role will continue to be on the bench? We'll never hear the real reason, nor know how much it affected Crawford's night-he scored a whole three points on 1-for-5 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench. Hell, with Philly starting a 2/3 combo of Evan Turner and Nick Young, a contrasting combo of Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza might have gotten the Wizards further. Instead, Wittman got an ineffectual two points on two shots in 20 minutes from his starting 2-guard, Temple. His teammates barely knew he was on the court.
You can't turn the ball over 18 times and expect to win the game. On top of Washington's awful ( I feel like I used the word ‘awful' 500 times tonight) decision making, the lack of effort was very concerning. The Wizards have won 11 games in the season. You can't expect to win without heart, especially when you're sporting only 11 wins on the season. This game was embarrassing to say the least.
The night started out strong for the Wizards, taking 28-25 lead into the second quarter. Washington got their scoring from all over with Nene, John Wall, Kevin Seraphin, Jordan Crawford, Tervor Ariza and Emeka Okafor all knocking down shots. It boded well for the team on the evening since it was without their offensive horse Bradley Beal, who sat out with a wrist injury. It was pretty much all downhill from there for the Wizards after that.
Jrue Holiday probably likes the 76ers locker room to be more like it was after a 92-84 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Holiday has established himself as an all-star in his fourth season, but when the team wins and reporters are clamoring for the opportunity to talk to ancillary players such as Nick Young, Lavoy Allen, and Spencer Hawes, that means that Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, and Holiday are getting more help.
"It definitely makes it easier," said Holiday, who scored a game-high 21 points in more than 41 minutes. "They kind of saved the day. They made stops defensively, and they came up big for us defensively."
And it wasn't. Despite getting outrebounded on the night (46 to 43), shooting just a shade over 42 percent, and making just six free throws to the the Wizards' 17, the 76ers pretty much controlled the contest for the final 36 minutes. Truth be told, they easily could have won by 15 or more if they weren't so careless on the fastbreak and around the rim.
The 76ers' lead was disappearing Wednesday night. A 16-point advantage over the Wizards with 6 minutes, 29 seconds remaining had dwindled to five with 1:41 to go. Would the Sixers experience a repeat of Monday's three-point home loss to the Grizzlies in which Memphis scored the game's final six points? The answer was no.
"[Young] has really listened as we've tried to teach him," Collins said. "He's focused and I told him when we got him that my goal as his coach was to make him a more polished player. Not ‘Swaggy P' and the act, but a player. He's guarding now, he had four assists and he's getting in there and making plays for our guys. He's earned the trust of his teammates and, more importantly, he trusted the coaching staff when he came here."
"Kudos to [Wizards President and general manager] Ernie Grunfeld for running with Randy through the tough time," Collins said. "Nene was hurt, John Wall was hurt, and he said, ‘Let's hang with our coach here and let's see what we do and how we look with our team healthy,' so I'm really happy about that."
This was not a pretty game either way, but the Wiz were especially bad last night. The Wiz committed 18 TOs, but that is not the disturbing part. It was the nature of those TOs that made this game nearly unwatchable. On numerous occassions the Wiz simply threw the ball away without any pressure from the Sixers. Those unforced TOs killed them last night. Of course shooting 31% from deep (3-14 in 1st half) didn't help either.