Something about Washington, D.C., that causes the Sixers to play bad basketball.
They dropped their 10th straight in the nation’s capital, falling to the Wizards, 119-113, at Capital One Arena Thursday.
The combination of turnovers (21) and a red-hot, 19-point second quarter from Davis Bertans sunk the Sixers as they played Washington’s up-tempo style and not the "bully ball" we’ve seen.
Josh Richardson (right hamstring tightness) missed his sixth game of the season while the Wizards were without starting center Thomas Bryant (right foot stress reaction).
The loss drops the Sixers to 15-7 and 5-7 on the road. They return to the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night against the Cavaliers.
Here are observations from the loss.
Simmons shines on D but struggles on O
If it wasn’t for Bertans going absolutely nuts from three in the first half — 6 of 6 — this game would’ve looked a lot different early. Bertans cooled off in the second half, but rookie Rui Hachimura picked up the slack (27 points).
Ben Simmons' defense on All-Star Bradley Beal was excellent. Simmons chased Beal around and continued to play at an All-NBA level on defense. Before Bertans erupted, Washington’s offense looked stagnant with its focal point kept in check. For the game, Beal was held to 7 of 24 from the field.
Offensively, Simmons did not have a banner night. He had seven turnovers, far too many against a team in the Wizards who have the lowest-rated defense in the NBA. His unwillingness to shoot and stopping drives short without a plan continues to be issues. He had 17 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Not enough from Embiid
With the Wizards missing their starting center, it made sense for the Sixers to feed Embiid early and often. And that’s exactly what they did early on. Washington doubled frequently but Embiid had a double-double in the first half, putting up 17 points and 10 rebounds.
One knock on Embiid has been him not running rim to rim. To close out the first quarter, there were two sequences where Raul Neto knocked corner threes. On both plays, the attention that Embiid drew led to good ball movement and space.
In the second half, Embiid looked sluggish at times. He also had issues with turnovers, committing eight. On a night when Embiid should've dominated, he put up 26 points on 7 of 12 shooting. Part of that is on the Sixers and Brett Brown for not getting it into Embiid enough. He did have 21 rebounds.
Tobias the scorer
We’ve heard Brown talk a ton about Tobias Harris needing to have a “scorer’s mentality.” Even after practice Wednesday, Brown again said that he felt like Harris was passing up a couple looks a game that he should be taking.
Harris was feeling it early and looking awfully confident with 16 points in the first half (2 of 4 from three, 7 of 14 overall).
Heck yeah Harris (x2)— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 6, 2019
He sinks another triple for the Sixers as they lead, 25-20. pic.twitter.com/VsdTOBQceh
And another example of Harris attacking.
GET OUT OF TOBI'S WAY.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 6, 2019
We recommend it for your next business decision. pic.twitter.com/weqB9qIgfy
Harris did all he could, putting up 33 points on 13 of 28 (3 of 8 from three). He just didn’t get much help.
Thybulle looking comfortable
We all understand what Matisse Thybulle brings on the defensive end of the floor. He continued to be his usual disruptive self and helped cool off Bertans when nobody else on the Sixers could. As the Sixers made a run in the fourth quarter, it was Thybulle who had a series of impressive plays — including a couple on Beal. He had a pair of steals and blocks.
Thybulle has shot the ball well lately, but on Thursday, his driving and passing were on display. He dished a season-high six assists.
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