By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers played the Washington Wizards in their third game of the NBA restart this afternoon. This was supposed to be a relatively easy match-up for them. However, the way this team is playing nothing is as easy as advertised. The Wizards put up a fight but thanks to center Joel Embiid and guard Shake Milton, they were able to win 107-98.
The Sixers looked dominant early as forward Ben Simmons came out early looking to dominate the game. He scored six early points and was getting his teammates involved with his passing skills. However, late in the third quarter, Simmons was trying to make an entry pass to Embiid in the post, but he noticeably tweaked his knee. He would head back to the locker room and did not return. In his absence Embiid picked up the scoring load for his teammate.
Embiid scored 30 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and had three assists. In these past three games Embiid has scored 98 total points. He has been all over the court too, grabbing rebounds, hustling back to block shots. If the Sixers continue to get this type of effort from Embiid they might be able to go far.
The one thing Embiid has gotten better at is passing out of the double team. This has allowed his teammates to get wide open shots from the three-point range, in each of the last three games. Against the Wizards the player who benefitted the most was Milton.
Milton had his second straight great game since he went scoreless against the Pacers. Milton scored 14-points and hit three of his five attempts from three.
The Sixers will continue to need a strong performance from Milton. Especially if Simmons misses any time because of his knee injury. Milton will need to step up in these five remaining seeding games for them.
The Wizards have been decimated by injuries and opt-outs since the season restarted. But they went down fighting against the Sixers. They did not lay down and late in the fourth quarter they had a four-point lead over the Sixers. Led by center Thomas Bryant who scored 19-points and was giving the Sixers problems on both sides of the ball. He would grab rebounds from the Sixers and give his teammates extra chances to score, especially from three-point range.
The Sixers were able to weather the storm against the Wizards, but they have some issues to fix. Their defense was improved, but they still gave-up a double-digit lead late in the game, and still struggled with turnovers.
The Sixers now face the Magic on Friday night who are a playoff contender. They also have shooters, and guards who can attack the paint. Two things that give the Sixers fits and if Ben Simmons cannot play. They will have to do something they haven’t done since the season restarted, which is have complete defensive performance. If they want to push the win streak to three games, and prove that they are a championship contender in the Eastern Conference.