The Philadelphia 76ers were embarrassed earlier this season at the hands of the Washington Wizards, they got their revenge last night. The team famously or infamously known for their ‘tanking’ the last two seasons, stifled the Wizards and carved out an eight point win 89-81. Handing Washington a sixth consecutive loss, the Wizards have fallen to fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. Washington has lost back to back games against the Timberwolves and the Sixers, let that sink in.
The Sixers were able to make Washington play their style of game, it was a very sloppy game on both ends. Neither team’s offense got on track, not too many outside of Philadelphia watch the team on a regular basis. They are very good on the defensive end, Nerlens Noel led the way last night with 14 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks. His team held Washington to just 32.3% shooting from the floor and an abysmal 23.5% from beyond the arc.
If not for Otto Porter being assertive on his way to 19 points, the Wizards would have lost by much more. Their offense is in shambles, John Wall doesn’t appear to have enough help on a nightly basis. He’s an outstanding facilitator, but it’s hard to facilitate when folks can’t hit shots and there is little to no spacing. Wall had a double-double with 21 points and 11 assists, but he like his teammates, struggled shooting the ball.
Washington has to get this turned around, their next five opponents are against Eastern Conference teams that are all part of the playoff race. The Wizards can either climb back up the standings or continue to spiral even farther downwards, tonight they host the Detroit Pistons in Washington, D.C. Then they’ll visit Chicago, host Miami before going back on the road for Milwaukee and Charlotte.
Detroit is currently on the outside looking in of the playoff picture, but they are essentially just a few games out of eighth place. Chicago even after losing Derrick Rose for a few weeks, still sits above Cleveland in the standings, at third place. Miami is seventh and Charlotte is right outside of the eighth spot, sitting one game out.
The Wizards had a very good first half of the season, they’ve struggled since. This doesn’t mean they can’t achieve their ultimate goal, but it’s imperative that they turn things around sooner than later. It starts with them figuring out how to be productive on the offensive end. The Wizards struggle more on that end of the floor than the other, spacing has been a repeated issue along with turnovers.