Postgame review – Philadelphia 109, Washington 102, Game 2 of 82

  • Ralph Thompson Jr

Sixer’s forward Thad Lewis attempts to drive around Wizards forward Al Harrington in the Sixers 109-102 victory (courtesy of the Sixers team website)

The Wizards’ first home game left the fans dissatisfied Friday night. A Philadelphia team that many predicted to be down and out showed patience and persistence and a strong second-half run by the Sixers proved too much for the Wizards to withstand.

Nene, Chris Singleton and rookie Otto Porter were in street clothes on the bench, nursing injuries.

Washington shot 43.6% from the field, and totaled 46 rebounds, 23 assists on 41 made baskets, 14 steals and 17 turnovers. The Wizards had six players in double figures. John Wall led the team with 26 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and only 2 turnovers in 34 minutes. Martell Webster came off the bench to add 13. Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal combined to shoot 9-33 from the field, and Beal added 5 turnovers.

Philadelphia shot 51.1% from the floor, and totaled 46 rebounds, 26 assists on 48 made baskets, 8 steals and 19 turnovers. They also had six players in double figures, led by Thaddeus Young’s 29 and 8 rebounds. Evan Turner had 23 points, while Robert Hawes added 16 points and 14 rebounds.
For Washington, John Wall came out hot, hitting his first six shots. He finished the first quarter with 13, and Washington led 33-21. The team’s energy level was good; they changed ends swiftly and consistently. The fans were into it, cheering at every good play. So far, so good.

At the start of the second quarter, Wall was on the bench. The team’s offense ground to a near-halt, especially in the half-court sets. Philadelphia missed numerous shots as well, so Washington was able to hang on to the lead. Once Wall re-entered the game, he was able to get to the rim at will. His play jump-started the offense, and as a result Washington led 54-44 at the half.

After halftime, Washington played well enough to maintain a lead most of the way. To start the period, Washington limited Philadelphia to numerous one-shot possessions. Then, the Sixers warmed up. With Young and Turner leading the way, Philly went on an 18-6 run to close the third quarter. The game was tied at 74 entering the final period. The home fans got restless. The team seemed not as focused as before.

In the fourth quarter, Al Harrington’s steal and subsequent dunk, Kevin Seraphin’s layup on a fast break, and Martell Webster’s three-pointer gave Washington an 85-78 lead. From then on, Philly started hitting shots, as backup point guard Tony Wroten started making plays (10 points, 5 rebounds). Young and Michael Carter-Williams (14 points) contributed baskets. Soon, Philadelphia was up 94-91 with 5:23 left. From then on, Washington started rushing shots, with Beal struggling the most. Philly’s second-half ball movement was crisper, and it paid off late in the game. They were able to get high-quality shots out of the passing game, and soon the lead was insurmountable.

Looking back, Washington should have won this one. Defensively, the lack of interior defense allowed the Sixers to get many baskets in the lane. Offensively, the Wizards’ jump shots didn’t fall, and the team didn’t adjust quickly enough. In addition, they didn’t match Philly’s work rate in the second half. Getting outscored 65-48 at home won’t sell your product to the local fans. Philadelphia didn’t get frustrated in the first half; they stayed with their game plan and it paid off.

Washington’s next game is a Sunday evening matchup at Miami. They’ll need better ball movement on offense, in order to get guys not named John Wall easier shots. With LeBron James on the other team, getting easier shots may be hard to accomplish.

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