Sixers-Wizards observations: Holding on to end homestand

Sixers-Wizards observations: Holding on to end homestand


A 29-point blowout turned into Hack-A-Ben as the Sixers barely edged out the Wizards for a 118-113 win on Wednesday night.

The game seemed put away when the Sixers had a 22-point lead over the John Wall-less Wizards early in the fourth quarter. But after the Sixers were up 95-79 with 7:11 remaining, the Wizards outscored them 18-5 to make it a three-point game. 

While the Wizards raced back into the game, they intentionally fouled Ben Simmons, a 56.6 percent free throw shooter. Their strategy was effective. Simmons shot 12 for 24 in the fourth quarter alone. He finished the game 15 of 29 (51.7 percent) from the line and the team was 41 of 64 (64.1 percent) from the stripe.

The Sixers were without Joel Embiid for the final 2:24 after he fouled out. Dario Saric connected on an and-one from JJ Redick with 22.2 seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 116-111 lead. Tomas Satoransky cut it back to three, 116-113, with 11.4 ticks to go. Jerryd Bayless hit free throws to finally ice the win. 

• Simmons showed no lingering effects of a right ankle sprain. He recorded a monster 31-point, 18-rebound double-double. Simmons also had four assists, two steals, two blocks and six turnovers in 41 minutes. He set career highs in scoring, rebounds and minutes. 

• Embiid, who played in this game instead of Thursday’s bookend of a back-to-back set (see more below), posted 25 points, 14 points, four assists and four blocks in 32 minutes. He became the first player since Yao Ming to record at least 16 games of three blocks within his first 50 games. 

• Embiid has yet to be cleared for consecutive games and will not play on Thursday in Boston against the Celtics. Brett Brown noted Embiid’s desire to play in front of the home crowd as well as the fact that suiting up Wednesday versus Thursday gives the center an extra day of rest before their next matchup on Saturday when they host the Pistons. 

• Instead of being able to rest for most of the fourth quarter ahead of a back-to-back, the Sixers’ starters were back together with just under six minutes to play to fend off the Wizards.

• The Sixers’ second unit took a hit when T.J. McConnell sustained a left shoulder contusion in the third quarter and did not return. X-rays came back negative. McConnell had four points, two rebounds and an assist through 16 minutes. The Sixers utilized Bayless, who can play the one and the two, at the point in McConnell’s absence. 

• The Wizards received a big boost from their bench. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored a team-high 22 points and Jodie Meeks added 21, as the Wizards’ bench outscored the Sixers’ reserves, 67-21.

• Bradley Beal left the game in the first with a right facial contusion but returned to finish with 21 points.

• Embiid swatted not one, but two shots in six seconds during the second quarter. First, a cutting layup attempt by Meeks. Then, a 10-foot jumper by Oubre. Embiid eclipsed his season average for blocks (1.6) on one trip down the court. 

Adding to his highlight reel, Embiid blocked Tim Frazier later in the quarter and hustled down the court in time to get up for a monster dunk from Simmons four seconds later. He showed his athleticism and speed on that play.

• Injury updates: Nik Stauskas was cleared to play after missing the last eight games because of a right ankle sprain. Justin Anderson (left leg) and Markelle Fultz (right shoulder) remained sidelined. In addition to Wall, Sheldon Mac (left Achilles surgery) was out for the Wizards. 

• Jahlil Okafor was listed as inactive and Richaun Holmes did not play. Holmes should see more playing time against the Celtics without Embiid available. 

• The Sixers pulled down 64 ... 6-4 ... rebounds. Covington (12), Embiid (14) and Simmons (18) combined to out-rebound the Wizards (35) by themselves. 

NBA admits mistake that leaves Sixers scratching their heads

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NBA admits mistake that leaves Sixers scratching their heads

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers were right.

The Sixers argued they should have set up at halfcourt, not fullcourt, for a decisive final possession of double overtime in Friday’s game against the Thunder. After a closer look following their triple-overtime loss, the NBA ruled the Sixers were proved correct. 

“After review, it was determined that the 76ers called timeout with 00:01.2 remaining on the game clock, which was prior to Saric's (PHI) dribble. Therefore, they should have been given the opportunity to advance the ball into their own frontcourt for the inbound,” the NBA Officiating’s Last Two Minute Report noted.

The confusion occurred at the end of the second overtime. Dario Saric got a defensive rebound and the Sixers called a timeout before he dribbled the ball. Because of this, the Sixers should have been allowed to set up a final play in the halfcourt, which is exactly what they had practiced and called.

But the referees made a last-second change as the Sixers were setting up. The Sixers were told they had to inbound from fullcourt, which would have been the case if Saric had dribbled before the timeout. The Last Two Minute Report indicated he, in fact, did not. 

“Respect that they are that transparent, but complete disappointment that it can happen,” Brett Brown said Sunday. “You really scratch your head. It’s significant.”

Every play, every basket can make a difference for a team fighting to make the playoffs. The Sixers were confident they could have won the game with the halfcourt play. Instead, they dropped back down to .500 and currently 10 in the Eastern Conference.

“Those things you need to avoid to give yourself every chance to win,” Brown said. “We can point to many other things that were self-inflicted wounds that we’ve got to do better. But when it’s that exposed and that prominent of an environment with 1.2 seconds left, it’s disappointing. But like I say, they’re transparent. I respect the fact they admitted it and we move on.”

Joel Embiid out Monday against Bulls; 2 other Sixers sidelined

Joel Embiid out Monday against Bulls; 2 other Sixers sidelined

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid does not play both games of a back-to-back, but whether he plays in either of the Sixers' next two matchups will have to be determined.

Embiid is not traveling with the Sixers to Chicago for Monday’s game against the suddenly-streaking Bulls, who have won five straight. The big man usually plays at home in these scenarios, and considering he played 49 minutes in Friday’s triple-overtime loss, the decision was expected.

Embiid’s availability for Tuesday at home against the Kings, though, has not been finalized at this point. This is not surprising either being two days ahead of the game. Embiid, who has been dealing with back tightness, did not participate in practice Sunday. The Sixers will evaluate, monitor, and go through treatment with Embiid before making their call.

“Unsure at this stage,” Brett Brown said Sunday. “I do know he’s categorically out tomorrow and we’re going to learn more about him being available when we come back [for] Sacramento, I’d expect in the next 24 hours.”

The Sixers do know they will be without another two players for some time.

Trevor Booker will miss at least the next two games after suffering spraining his left ankle Friday. The newly acquired reserve will be reevaluated in approximately five-to-seven days.

Even though Booker was traded to the Sixers less than two weeks ago, he already made an impact on the second unit. Brown has seen enough over the last four games to know what the team will be missing.

“His toughness,” Brown said. “He’s got a motor. He plays with such a spirit. He’s a man. He’s a pro. He’s been in the league for a while. He gets it. It’s everything that you miss. It’s really everything this team needs.”

Furkan Korkmaz likely will be sidelined even longer. The rookie suffered a Lisfranc injury on his left foot while playing for the Delaware 87ers on Dec. 15 and is out indefinitely. The Sixers recalled Korkmaz from the G League and he is going through evaluation and testing. There is no timetable set for Korkmaz at this point.  

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons described the injury as, “Lisfranc (midfoot) injuries result if bones in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn. The severity of the injury can vary from simple to complex, involving many joints and bones in the midfoot.”

Korkmaz has been going back and forth between the Sixers and their G League affiliate in Delaware to get playing opportunities as part of his development in his first NBA season.