By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers were riding high after a thrilling game one victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday afternoon. Philly came in to game 2 looking to pick-up where they left off. They jumped on Washington early and used a strong offensive surge to dominate the Wizards 120-95 and take a 2-0 series lead.
Philly started the game hot hitting their first four shots of the game and crushing Washington on both sides of the ball. The pace setter for them in the first-half was guard/forward Ben Simmons who played like a pissed off man tonight. He scored 14 of his 22-points by half-time. He imposed his will on both sides of the ball and got what he wanted from the field whether it was a lay-up, dunk, or fadeaway jumper. Washington had no answer for him and if he continues to play like this Philly could be a problem in the playoffs.
On Simmons’ performance tonight, “I told him [Ben]- you’ve got all the space, all the time in the world. Just attack. He was great tonight, and we’re going to need him to keep being that way,” said Sixers center Joel Embiid.
It was not just him though as forward Tobias Harris (19-points) and Embiid (22-points) also made some noise during this game. Both combined for 41-points and like Simmons they imposed their wills on both sides of the ball as well. Embiid in particular scored 11-points by himself in the second quarter. When all members of the Sixers big three make their presence felt in the game. The opposing team generally has a bad night. Going into game 3 one thing Philly will look to improve on is getting Embiid going earlier in the game. He’s had slow scoring nights through out both games in the series so far but his teammates have picked him up.
Despite the scoring efforts of Embiid, Harris, and Simmons. The Wizards continued to fight in the game. At one-point they were able to go on a late 6-0 scoring run mid-way through the second quarter and cut the lead to five-points. They were powered by guard Bradley Beal who scored 33-points and Philly had no answers for him. Unlike last game he hit his shot consistently and it did not matter who the Sixers out on him. He got his shot from the perimeter and attacked the paint.
The Sixers implemented the he can get his but no one else will help him defense. They made it difficult on everyone who was not named Beal. Only three Wizards were able to score double figures in this game and as a team they only hit 42.9% from the field. That percentage is a testament to Philly’s smothering defense. They eliminated all easy looks for Washington and made sure there was a hand in their faces as soon as anyone dared to try to shoot. If Philly’s defense is as dominating as it was tonight they might be able to sweep Washington in four games. As the series shifts to Washington on Saturday, Philly will need another balance night in game three if they want to beat a Wizards team who will be looking to get their pride back this weekend.
On his mentality for the playoffs, “I thought it was pretty hard to get 15 rebounds and 15 assists in the playoffs. I’m here to win, and I’m doing whatever it takes to help my team win. I’m not trying to prove anybody wrong… I’m trying to win a championship,” said guard/forward Ben Simmons.