John Wall grabbed the jump ball tip near the 76ers foul line, and quickly fired a one handed pass off his back court to a streaking Bradley Beal for a one handed slam. The next play he took off after a Nene outlet and whipped the ball down into the key for Marcin Gortat for another Wizards slam dunk. This was the way the game went for Washington, as they consistently pounced on the 76ers inability to convert offensively to produce easy baskets on the other end as they blew out Philadelphia 111-76 for their 29th win on the season.
If the Wizards problem against Brooklyn was, as Randy Wittman said, they didn't respect the quality of their opponent, Washington disrespected the 76ers in a myriad of ways on Monday afternoon. Whether it was Kevin Seraphin making fancy moves on the post for devastating slams, or John Wall looking like Tom Brady throwing deep passes to his teammates for scores, the Wizards physical dominance allowed them to stretch out, relax, and try things that they might not against more formidable opponents.
At times, that aggressiveness resulted in mistakes, as witnessed by the Wizards 22 turnovers. On other plays, it led to spectacular finishes for the Wizards, who built a comfortable margin that allowed them to experiment as well as rest their starters in the fourth quarter.
That was the spirit of things on Monday, as the Wizards came out with focus in dominating the 76ers early that allowed them to have some fun as the game progressed. The 76ers had their run to cut the lead to under 20 midway to the third, but the Wizards quickly answered with a run of their own to put the game out of reach. Perhaps most importantly, after the grueling recent stretch that the Wizards have had, Wittman was given an opportunity to empty his bench and let his starters cheer them on.
As Randy Wittman said, "When you're dealing with only playing 41 games so far, you're kind of getting into the dog days leading up to the break which is the middle of February this year. Those are the days you got to fight through sometimes - fatigue, body ache ... Monday's game gave the Wizards players some much needed respite heading into Wednesday's much anticipated matchup with the Oklahoma City.
That Wednesday game against the Thunder will be widely watched, both to see where Washington stands in the NBA pecking order and where the Thunder are in recovering from their injury-marred early season. And of course there is the KD angle, the MVP whose 2016 free agency some websites have been hyping up even 2 years before the fact
Marcin Gortat wants himself and his team to be ready for Wednesday. "We are looking forward to beating Kevin Durant, we are pretty sure we had that game in OKC but unfortunately we lost to Kevin Durant."
Philadelphia had no one anywhere near the quality of Durant or Westbrook to counter the Wizards, and the Wizards trounced them.
Wednesday night will be a much taller task.