The Sixers Fly Over the Wizards in Philly | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

The Sixers Fly Over the Wizards in Philly

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Updated: February 7, 2018

In hindsight, there was no way the Wizards were going to defeat the Sixers on Tuesday night.

The Wizards came into the game with a peculiar vibe surrounding them. The day started with rumors of Marcin Gortat being involved in trade talks, and then later in the day, John Wall went on ESPN’s “The Jump”, to basically let everyone know he was still the franchise player and the team still needed him to thrive going forward. And oh by the way, this game against the Sixers represented their third in four nights and the second night of a back-to-back.

Coaches typically don’t like to make excuses, but there were plenty for Scott Brooks to choose from if he were so inclined.

On the flip side, the Sixers came into last night’s game quite rested, having not played since their loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night. And they also had the privilege of playing their first home game since the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots on Sunday night. Not only did the crowd break into countless E-A-G-L-E-S chants, but the Eagles offensive line showed up to ring the ceremonial bell.

Once the game started, the Sixers more than capitalized on that intangible mojo.

After five minutes, thanks to 3-pointers from Dario Saric, Joel Embiid and JJ Redick, the Sixers led 15-7, which prompted Scott Brooks to call his first timeout. Two minutes later, the Sixers went on a 7-0 run thanks to five points and a steal from Amir Johnson, and Scott Brooks had to call yet another timeout. By the end of the quarter, the Sixers shot 69-percent, while the Wizards managed just 33-percent shooting, thanks mostly to Otto Porter’s 4-for-8, nine-point performance.

The Wizards bench went on a 4-0 run to end the first quarter, and thanks to Ian Mahinmi and Tim Frazier, that run extended to 10-2, and they were able to cut the Sixers lead to 13 points, 39-26 with 10:26 left in the second quarter. Brett Brown called timeout to quell the Wizards run, and Philly responded by going on a 12-2 run to push the lead back up to 22 points.

That was the ebb and flow of the entire game after the first quarter.

Bradley Beal (30 points in three quarters), Otto Porter (17 points) and even Ian Mahinmi  (13 points) made shots and seemingly put the Wizards in a position to make a sustained run. Then Joel Embiid (27 points) would hit a 3-pointer, Ben Simmons would blow by Porter for a dunk, layup or an assist, or Robert Covington, Saric or Redick would hit a wide-open shot to stop the burgeoning Wizards’ comeback.

The “everybody eats” mantra that has regrettably spread like wildfire and is now used as an appositive whenever the Wizards are mentioned, was still in effect last night. The Wizards had 23 assists, five players in double figures, and had they figured out a way to stop the Sixers for just five minutes of play in the second half, they would have pulled off their sixth consecutive victory.

But the Wizards just could not summon that five-game-win-streak magic this time around. Tomas Satoransky struggled to find open teammates like he’d done so adeptly during the win streak and as Comcast SportsNet’s Kara Lawson observed, he wasn’t pushing the ball with his usual pace. Tim Frazier did a good job pushing the pace, but he wasn’t much of a threat on offense and he did nothing of note on the defensive end of the ball, which is why in the fourth quarter, Coach Brooks basically decided to make Beal the point guard.

The Wizards shot just 29-percent with two assists in the fourth quarter, and Satoransky, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat did not play a minute. The Sixers didn’t exactly set the world on fire with their 35-percent shooting, but they got timely scoring from Embiid and Redick, and that served as just enough of a deterrent to the Wizards anemic offense.

The Wizards have now won five out of six games since Wall’s injury, and they have one day to rest before they take on the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics at home. By then the trade deadline will have come and gone, and if the rumors are true, either Gortat will be gone, or the Wizards will have added some elusive perimeter depth. Stay tuned my friends.

More Bullets

  • Brian Windhorst, unlike Stephen A. Smith who talks to hear himself talk, rarely gets it wrong in the reporting department, which makes it hard to ignore his report that Gortat may be on the move. If that is indeed the case, the Wizards should take comfort in the recent play of Ian Mahinmi. He’s averaged 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in the month of February, and last night he scored eight of his 13 points in the second quarter. But it wasn’t just the sheer volume of points that made his night impressive, it was the way he scored and who he did his scoring against. He grabbed rebounds over and around Embiid, he drove the lane when the Sixers defense fell asleep against him, and he even showed faint signs of post moves from time to time. Yes, in the long run, Mahinmi will have to prove he has a legitimate chemistry with John Wall, before he’s a trusted member of the Wizards’ rotation, but in the past couple weeks, he’s proven to be a valuable replacement when Gortat goes to the bench–which is not a phrase anyone has been able to type or speak since Mahinmi arrived in D.C.

  • With 2:09 left in the first half, Embiid got the ball on the block while being guarded by Morris. Embiid, as he had been doing against Gortat, simply tried to use his weight to get better position in the post, but Morris provided significant resistance–or so he thought. The refs thought there was too much contact, and they whistled Morris for a foul. Morris (and Embiid for some reason) protested the foul call and got dangerously close to the referee but no technical foul was called. But a minute later, when Morris refused to leave the scorer’s table and go to the bench, he eventually received that technical foul. Beal scored or assisted on the Wizards’ next nine points, so Morris’s antics were not harmful, but it was incredibly selfish and something that Coach Brooks has to eventually reel in.

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.