The Washington Wizards defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 116-111 on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.
As you all probably know at this point, I believe that the Wizards must rebuild for their long term future. I will go into the nitty gritty over the next couple of weeks, but let’s say that my gloves are off.
Though I (and many, if not most fans) think that the Wizards’ best days have passed them by, don’t tell that to the team. If anything, our “hate” is Bulletin Board Material:
Posting this will bring on a January winning streak.— Stephen Powers (@DCStones1978) December 27, 2022
To be fair to the team, I don’t blame Wes Unseld, Jr., Bradley Beal and the gang from doing whatever they can to try to contend for the No. 10 seed in the East (and a No. 10-14 pick next summer though, let’s be honest. They REEEEEEALLY should be going for No. 1). No player ever wants to be on a losing team or be called a “stat stuffer.”
So whether it’s because the Wizards are viewing this as a fresh start or if it was because they read my negative pieces in the last couple of days, they came out with some fight. They did let Joel Embiid score 26 of his 48 points for the Sixers, but Washington still led 67-56 at the half. The Wizards dominated the boards 22-13, and multiple Washington players were in double digits for scoring. The question I had at this point was whether the Wizards could keep this up for the second half.
As you might have guessed, the Sixers gradually chipped into their deficit in the third quarter. Philly was still down by 9 points at the third quarter but made things a bit more interesting in the fourth. In fact, they were down by just one possession with seconds left.
In the end, the Wizards won the game. It’s their second overall, and it helps keep the “haters” like many Wizards fans like you and me from going overboard with the narratives that we want to see.
I’ll take a step back from this semi-sarcastic take and point this out. I want to see the Wizards do well. I think WE ALL DO! Unfortunately, Washington lost 10 straight games earlier this month and are now in serious contention to get a potential franchise-changing pick. Unlike the Washington Mystics, the Wizards don’t have the front office or coaching reputation to get a player who “demands” to come to Chinatown. And that is one reason why at least some fans are hoping that they get a franchise-changing player.
And to be clear, we (and I specifically) really aren’t rooting against the Wizards team. We’ll take hard fought wins like this one and give credit where it’s due. Bradley Beal also added 19 points tonight and played well tonight. But at the same time, we want this team to be in position to be a perennial winner. I still don’t see how that’s possible right now.
The Wizards will finish their homestand against the Phoenix Suns tomorrow. Tip off is at 7 p.m. ET. See you then.