With the Philadelphia 76ers missing All-NBA center Joel Embiid, the Wizards had an opportunity to bank a win. Instead, they sleep-walked on defense and bumbled their way to 15 turnovers and lost, 118-111.
Philadelphia’s James Harden skillfully dissected the Wizards defense en route to 23 points and 17 assists. When the Wizards doubled him in the second half, he knew how to back away, draw defenders even further from the basket, and then pass to an open teammate to kickstart a 4-on-3 power play.
Harden’s production largely offset a stellar performance from Kristaps Porzingis. The Unicorn scored a hyper-efficient 32 points (his offensive rating was a staggering 164 points produced per 100 possessions — league average is about 113), and he grabbed 9 rebounds.
The height advantage he held over the Lilliputian Sixers was double-edged. While he could shoot easily over smaller defenders, his slow feet made him a traffic cone for Philly’s fleet-footed perimeter players. And, his high center of gravity made establishing position inside a cumbersome process against burly defenders like P.J. Tucker.
Still, Porzingis was Washington’s most productive player by a considerable margin, and the team was +8 during his 35 minutes.
The other significant contributor was Monte Morris, who hit shots and came up with three steals.
Kyle Kuzma receded into the background for most of the game. He had just 5 field goal attempts, which produced 9 points. His most memorable moment of the night was the JaVale McGee-like decision to go for a highlight reel double-clutch dunk on a breakaway with the Wizards on a roll. He missed the dunk, Philly hit a three, and the Wizards lost steam. The Sixers closed the third quarter with an 18-2 run.
Rui Hachimura scored an inefficient 10 points, but added 6 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. The team was -18 in his 18 minutes of playing time.
Bradley Beal had a second straight rough night — 20 points on 7-18 shooting, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 turnovers. He had two terrible turnovers late in the fourth quarter, which killed the team’s attempt at a comeback win.
After a hot start to the season, Beal has looked disturbingly like he did last season before his wrist injury. His three-point shooting has gone AWOL, and the change in officiating to not reward offensive players for creating contact has cut into his trips to the free throw line. As has been his wont the past several seasons, he spends a lot of time arguing with refs for foul calls.
Starting in place of Deni Avdija, Anthony Gill was kinda-sorta okay. He contributed 11 points on poor efficiency and the team defense got torched when he was in there. Avdija didn’t make a strong case to get his starting role back. He was scoreless in 17 minutes, though he did have a couple nice assists, and his fans online got excited by a couple strong defensive possessions on Harden. Even with that, the team defense got torched when he was in there.
The Four Factors
Below are the four factors that decide wins and losses in basketball — shooting (efg), rebounding (offensive rebounds), ball handling (turnovers), fouling (free throws made).
I’ve simplified them a bit. While the factors are usually presented as percentages, that’s more useful over a full season. In a single game, the raw numbers in each category bring more clarity.
Four Factors: 76ers 118 at Wizards 111
Key Stats: Wizards
Key Stats: 76ers
|Danuel House Jr.||15||31||2||232||3.9%||90||5.2||10|