The Philadelphia 76ers took the court against the Washington Wizards on Monday night, looking to win their second game against Washington within a week and their third straight victory. The Sixers entered the night winners of two in a row, while the Wizards came in losers of four straight with only three total wins on the season.
The first quarter was all Sixers as they started on a 12-0 run, lighting the Wizards up from three-point range. Tyrese Maxey and Patrick Beverley both had three made buckets from long range, helping Philly nail nine totals in the first period. Embiid took a back seat early on in the quarter and asserted himself later to make his presence felt. They total 43 first-quarter points, building a 15-point lead against the Wiz.
The second quarter was much of the same for the Sixers as they continued to be hot from beyond the arc and get whatever they wanted offensively. They also played much better defense in the second quarter, holding the Wizards below 20 points. The ball movement popped all throughout the first half, and the Wizards had no answer defensively. They went to zone to try to stop the Sixers, but that only allowed Philly to do more damage.
The second half turned out to be a laugher as the Sixers pushed their lead to 47 points at one point. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey didn’t see the floor in the fourth quarter, and both got much-needed rest. The 76ers hit 20 three-pointers en route to a 146-101 blowout win. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey paced the 76ers, while Washington’s only positive force was Kyle Kuzma (21 points and 9 rebounds).
Rising to the top
Joel Embiid continues to play his way into the top tier of the MVP discussion. He was recently moved to the top of NBA.com’s MVP ladder in its’ latest rendition. He has dominated the Wizards this season, and that trend continued Monday night. He ended the night with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists and could have tallied more if the game was closer.
Joel Embiid has bought into playmaking for his teammates and truly being a willing passer. He seems to trust his guys a lot more this year and the team is reaping the benefits of it. He was a little sloppy with his passes in the open court tonight, passing it behind the back and out of bounds multiple times, otherwise, he made the right plays. For this team to continue to succeed, he has to share the wealth and show confidence in his teammates.
In the first few weeks of the season, the Sixers were top ten in defensive and offensive ratings, but after a few bad defensive performances, they dropped into the twenties on defense. On Monday night, they locked up Washington causing 22 turnovers and turning them into 31 points.
It’s not a coincidence that they got multiple deflections on the night that Robert Covington returned to the rotation. His activity and energy were infectious, and it was all topped off with Embiid patrolling the paint. They were able to get 14 steals and 6 blocks. If they can give this type of effort most nights, they will continue to be a tough team to beat.
Wizards running out of magic
After tonight’s game, the Washington Wizards are 3-18 and have to be looking for answers on how this team can compete. The roster is extremely flawed and led by guys who aren’t considered to be top-notch options. Defense is optional most nights, and their “stars” seem disinterested if they aren’t involved on offense.
Where can this team go? As the trade deadline approaches, teams will be calling about some of their players, and difficult choices will be made. Changes have to be made from the top down for Washington to improve for the future.
The Sixers will head to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Wednesday night for the first matchup of a home-and-home series. You can catch the matchup on NBC Sports Philadelphia.