With the exception of Bradley Beal, the injury-depleted Wizards were no match for Sixers. Washington fell behind by as much as 23 in the first half, staged a false-hope rally that trimmed the deficit to just four late in the third quarter, and then lost steam as Philadelphia coasted to a comfortable win.
Beal turned in a scintillating performance, pouring in 36 points despite a steady diet of double teams and traps from one of the NBA’s best defensive teams.
He got little help from his friends, however. Davis Bertans was 3-13 from the floor and 0-7 from three-point range. One night after shooting a perfect 9-9 from the floor, Ish Smith shot 0-7.
Poor shooting was the rule for the Wizards — Isaiah Thomas was 5-13, Ian Mahinmi was 3-7 (though he did hit his first three pointer of the season), and Admiral Schofield was 0-3. Isaac Bonga played 15 minutes without a field goal attempt.
Recently-signed Anzejs Pasecniks gave a credible effort against Joel Embiid and the Philly bigs though the results weren’t stellar. He seems to have good skills and a nice shooting touch, though he lacks the strength necessary to hold his own against legit NBA bigs. Tonight he managed just two rebounds in 22 minutes as the Wizards were dominated on the glass 53-38.
It was yet another poor defensive performance by the Wizards. The Sixers posted an offensive rating (points per possession x 100) of 123 despite having just an average shooting night and committing 14 turnovers. They did it by collecting 16 offensive rebounds and cashing in on an abundance of open looks from three-point range.
The Wizards tried an array of defensive sets, none of which appeared to have much effect. Shifting between man-to-man and zone schemes at times seemed mainly to confuse the Washington defense. More than once, three or four Wizards set up in zones but had teammates match up in man defense. This was not a case of the team playing a box-and-one or triangle-and-two. This was the kind of miscommunication that’s endemic with young, bad defenses.
Notes & Observations
- Bertans has provided some welcome fun and excitement this season, but the limitations in his game were highlighted the last two nights. When quality defenses harass him at the three-point line, he’s had a difficult time coming up with counters. Tonight, he was bothered by Philly’s size and physicality. The Wizards may need to get more creative with their sets for him, especially when they face better teams.
- Thomas may face a suspension after going into the stands to confront fans towards the end of the game. The league has taken a hard line on that kind of interaction since the Malice in the Palace incident. Regardless of the provocation, players are expected to let arena security handle things. Thomas will probably have to sit a game.
- It’s very early in Admiral Schofield’s career, and while he hasn’t impressed, there seem to be the makings of a three-and-D contributor. He’s a decent open shooter who avoids turnovers and at least tries on defense. He’ll need to figure out how to defend without fouling, and to become more of a contributor on the boards.
The Wizards are back in action Monday night with a winnable game against the Knicks in New York.