Emraided Wizards

By: Kylan Watson

The Philadelphia 76ers faced the Washington Wizards for their regular season finale. This contest was a defensive gem throughout most of it as both teams struggled to make shots from the field. However, the Sixers were able to do just enough to stay ahead in this game, Joel Embiid powered them to a 112-93 victory.

Unlike their last few games, the Sixers started the first quarter fast when they hit a few shots and it propelled the offensive scheme tonight. Joel Embiid scored 34-points to lead Philly in the contest, his 39th 30-point plus game of his career. He really took off late in the third quarter hitting shots from all over the court and blocking a lot of shots to keep the Wizards off the board. His play in this game and the third quarter is another example of Embiid hitting his stride at the right time. As he has been propelling the Sixers to victories on both sides of the ball. Tonight, he hit enough clutch shots and made some big defensive plays to stifle Washington’s offensive plan.  Embiid basically played a safety role in this contest and in the previous game against the Portland Trailblazers. That has unlocked Philly’s defensive scheme as him clogging the paint has forced these teams to be deadeyes from the three-point line and they have not been able to do it yet. That might change as the Sixers are starting off a three-game road trip on Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers who unlike the Wizards tonight have enough shooters who can hit enough threes to make Philly pay for daring to leave them open. The plan will need to be adjusted for them, but this has helped the Sixers improve their defensive rating.  Additionally, it can also be implemented in the postseason when the matchup allows for it to happen. The Sixers will go as far as Embiid’s two-way abilities will take them and they have 15 more games to fine tune the defensive strategy for the loaded Eastern Conference.

Despite the Embiid offensive explosion, the Wizards continued to fight in this game and Washington were able to cut Philly’s lead to five-points by half time. Thanks to Corey Kispert who burned Philly tonight, he scored 25-points and hit three three-pointers in the contest. Kispert’s ability to cut gave the Sixers defensive fits and they just could not keep him down. He found the holes in their defense and either hit a perimeter jump shot or attacked the basket and got to the free throw line. The Sixers spent a lot of defensive attention on Bradley Beal who only scored 13-points tonight and hit five/12 shots in the contest. Putting size on him paid off but it allowed Kispert to go off in the contest. However, the Sixers did enough to make sure Kispert did not get any help tonight and that allowed them to pull-away and win tonight.

They are now preparing for a three-game road trip that begins in Cleveland on Wednesday night. They will face a desperate Cavaliers team that needs to win this game to have a chance to push Philly down to the four seed. The Sixers will need to keep the ball moving to take full advantage of the Cavs’ aggressive defensive play. This will allow them to get high percentage shots that will help them keep up with the high-powered Cavaliers offense. Additionally, they will also need to stay attached to their man and limit the Cavs to one possession. If they want to win their 46th game of the season.

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