Unlike the Philadelphia 76ers, the Washington Wizards had their long-distance game working Wednesday night. The Wizards hit a team record 18 3-pointers to bury the Sixers 116-102 in their second straight loss.
Wizards’ point guard John Wall scored 24 points on a career-best five 3-pointers, Marcin Gortat had 19 points, Bradley Beal had 17 points, and Trevor Ariza scored 15 as seven Wizards reached double digits to help Washington earn its first win after starting 0-3.
Evan Turner led Philadelphia with 24 points and Spencer Hawes had 13. Rookie Michael Carter-Williams finished with 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Following a surprising 3-0 start, the Sixers have lost two straight and are starting to play like the team that oddsmakers predicted would win fewer than 17 games this season.
The Sixers rallied wins over Miami and Chicago with a comeback win at Washington last week. They overcame a 12-point, third-quarter deficit to beat the Wizards 109-102 and spoil their home opener on Friday. Not this time.
The Wizards led this one from the opening basket and never let up. They had a 15-point lead midway through the first quarter after Beal hit his third 3-pointer in three tries, and took a 60-51 lead into halftime.
The Sixers came out playing the same kind of lifeless basketball they did in the second half against Golden State, and the result was predictable. Washington out worked the Sixers from the jump, and found themselves ahead by 14 less than half way through the first quarter.
Already down double-digits, Spencer Hawes went to inbound the ball off of a Wizards made basket. Perhaps it was a lazy pass, or maybe it was just a great play by John Wall. Before Wall even had full possession of the ball, Michael Carter-Williams threw his arms up in disgust, turning his body so he couldn’t see Wall finish the play with a dunk. The turnover was just one of many.
The Sixers were playing an aggressive, press defense that could potentially force turnovers against ill prepared teams. The Wizards were swinging the ball around the court, draining three after three. And these weren’t unorthodox heaves that happened to find the bottom of the net – they were wide open looks as a result from the pressure strategy.
Another reason for the Sixers’ struggles is that Carter-Williams has fallen back down to earth. The rookie struggled again on Wednesday night, finishing with 19 points on 21 shots. Carter-Williams looks frustrated out on the court, and is starting to argue with referees when he doesn’t get a call. Rookies are going to struggle, but poor body language is something he can control.
The Sixers need a spark right now, and with their point guard struggling, it is going to have to come from somewhere else.
With Andrew Bynum and the Cleveland Cavaliers coming to town Friday night, they better find that spark fast. Because as ugly as things were against the Wizards, getting beat down by Bynum is something fans might not be able to handle.