By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers traveled to Washington to face the Wizards in the first of their two-game series this week. Despite Joel Embiid missing tonight’s game, Philly was able to ride a second-half offensive barrage to beat the Wizards 118-to-111. Pushing the win streak to three games.
Philly is streaking at the right time, as the team continues to come together on both ends of the floor. Tonight, they made their first few shots to start the game and put the Wizards on their heels early in the game. The duo of James Harden (23-points, and had 17-assists) and Tyrese Maxey (28-points) could not be stopped in this contest. They combined for 51 of the Sixers 118-points and got whatever they wanted on the floor. Additionally, they took full advantage of the increase in offensive touches without Joel Embiid (Missed tonight’s game with a non-Covid illness) on the floor. Harden was the offensive conductor for the Sixers early in this game he had 17-assists by the fourth quarter and found his teammates in their offensive sweet spots. Six of Philly’s players were able to hit double figures and the ball moved quicker than the Wizards defenders and there was nothing they could do about it. Harden has continued to show that he is serious about doing everything he can to help the Sixers win. Earlier this season he was doing it with his scoring ability against the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, now he is using his playmaking ability to help the Sixers offense continue to improve early in the season. Harden’s ability to be a dual threat will continue to be important building blocks to making Philly a championship contender.
The Wizards were able to weather the offensive explosion from Philly, and in the second half they started to get their offensive momentum back. They were able to retake the lead midway through the third quarter. Kristaps Porzingis (32-points) and Bradley Beal (20-points) led Washington’s comeback efforts, the duo combined for 52 of Washington’s 111-points and the duo made Philly pay for daring to leave them open, they hit five three-pointers and it did not matter if there were hands in their faces or not. They were both hitting shots that continued to help the Wizards try to climb back into this game.
Maxey was the closer tonight for the Sixers, he scored five straight points in the fourth quarter to help Philly pull-away from Washington and push their win streak to three games. There defense also came to play tonight as they forced 15-turnovers from the Wizards and stole the ball 12-times. The length of the Sixers defenders continued to bother the Wizards shooters and that allowed Philly to get more offensive possessions.
The Sixers will now prepare to face the Wizards again in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. They will need another strong performance on the defensive end if they want to continue to stifle Washington’s shooters. Additionally, they will need to continue to move the ball and find the hot hand on the offensive end. It seems cliché but the ball moves faster than the defense can defend it and that allows Philly to unlock their offensive capabilities and get their fifth win of the season.