Black and Blue: The Wizards Take a Beating in Philly | Wizards Blog Truth About

Black and Blue: The Wizards Take a Beating in Philly

Updated: November 30, 2018

“This is a black and blue city and you’ve got to be sure to come with your lunch pail,” was the first thing I heard when I turned on the game. It was the voice of Alaa Abdelnaby, a former first round pick who played for the Sixers on a pair of 10-day contracts back in 1995.

I’d missed the first four and a half minutes of the first quarter, and by then, coming out of a Wizards timeout, Philly already led Washington 13-7. Yeah, it was about the start I’d imagined from both teams. Joel Embiid was larger than life, as everyone has come to expect—7 rebounds in 7 minutes, and he’d scored the last seven points.

Ian Mahinmi checked in. The five-point lead became 7. A minute later, Jeff Green, a game-time decision with a back issue, checked out with an injury.

J.J. Redick swished a tight 3, leaning right, and talked shit (it’s unclear as to whom) on his way back down toward the defensive end. He then banked in a reverse layup on a cut into the lane from right to left.

In full control of the game, Sixers coach Brett Brown replaced Redick with T.J. McConnell, which was not a show of mercy. The 6-foot-2 point guard scored five points in five minutes and grabbed two boards. On one transition play, he manipulated the Wizards defense, feigning a drive before pulling out toward the break at the 3-point line. Lulled to sleep, the lane opened wide, and with the type of behind-the-back pass perfected by Steve Nash, McConnell connected with Ben Simmons who finished the play with a tomahawk slam.

Philadelphia’s players were quicker to loose balls, and as the passes zipped around in attack (an attack that never really allowed the Wizards to breathe), there were nothing but open looks on the offensive end. The seven-point lead became 11.

They missed a heap of looks, but the Sixers owned the offensive glass. Still, Brett Brown didn’t like his 25-14 lead. Too sloppy. He called timeout.

The quarter ended in a stalemate, each team scoring five (including a 3 at the quarter buzzer from Austin Rivers). Philly finished with 24 rebounds in the quarter, and led 30-16.

I watched the rest of the game so you didn’t have to. (I hope some of you turned it off right then and there.) For those wondering, yes, it was more of the same. When the Wizards weren’t snapping at the referees, they were conceding more points, trailing by as many as 29.

As I watched in a daze, I kept thinking back to Abdelnaby’s words when I tuned in:

This is a black and blue city and you’ve got to be sure to come with your lunch pail.

His words rang true from the initial 11-point Sixers run to the second 11-point run, when Brown gathered the crew with 2:45 to play in the first quarter. It tells you everything you need to know about both teams.

Like, when I watched Bradley Beal cross up Redick on a dribble drive, right to left. But instead of taking it strong to the hole (the lane was there), he pivoted out toward the free throw line, and took a floating jumper. It went in, and it sure was pretty, but plays like that don’t win you basketball games.

In Sixers-land, the name on the back of the jersey or the size of the check in the mail doesn’t seem to matter as much as they do in D.C,  where they play with pride for the name on the front of their jersey. More importantly, the Sixers play as a unit. Everyone is there to do a job, they know exactly what their respective roles are and they embrace them. Eight Sixers players finished in double figures.

It’s not always easy, but more often than not, this post-Process version of the 76ers takes its knocks in stride, cracks you across the dome with its lunch pail, and gets the job done. They’re now 16-8. If you come with that weak stuff, you’re taking an L. It’s a black and blue city.

As for the other guys, the ones repping D.C.?

For years, the Wizards have explained why they suck 55% of the time by confessing they don’t play with effort, or just plain don’t play defense. They’ve talked about lacking mental physicality. And, oh boy, they talk a lot (A LOT) about not having a full roster. In a way, it’s kind of crazy because the ‘just gotta play hard’ diagnosis is right, night after night. There’s no accountability. They don’t really want none.

They’re also second in the NBA in isolations. Really, that’s Wizards Basketball™ right now.

I could have ended this report with ‘The Wizards suck and every bad thing you’ve read about them is true,’ but it’s only right I give Abdelnaby the last word.

“If you have John Wall and Bradley Beal as your backcourt, and you have to settle for isolations, that says something about your system. It’s not good.”


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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.