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Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Sixers in first game out of All-Star break

Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Sixers in first game out of All-Star break

PHILADELPHIA – For the second time in as many games here this season, the Wizards lost 120-112 to the Sixers and looked like a team still on All-Star break.

Bradley Beal (40 points on 15-for-25 shooting) had his performance negated by their worst defensive showing in 2017. It was his fourth 40-point game of the season.

John Wall had his 36th double-double (29 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds) but everyone else was a no-show until Markieff Morris (14 points, seven rebounds) had a burst late.

Morris stayed in foul trouble and Marcin Gortat (11 points, 11 rebounds) couldn’t finish in the paint (3-for-10).

The Wizards (34-22) haven’t done well in the season series with three losing teams in the conference: 1-2 vs. the Sixers, 1-2 vs. the Magic and 0-2 vs. the Heat.

The Sixers (22-35) had seven players in double figures, led by Robert Covington (25 points, 11 rebounds), Dario Saric (20 points, 11 rebounds), Gerald Henderson (18 points) and Richaun Holmes (12 points, 10 rebounds).

The offense wasn’t as fluid for the Wizards but it was good enough had they simply defended better. The Sixers had a 58-54 advantage in paint points and 48-43 in rebounds.

It all added up to a similar result to the 109-102 loss here on Nov. 16 when Wall was on a minutes restriction and Beal was absent because of a thigh strain. The Wizards were 2-8.

Joel Embiid, the Sixers’ best player, has never played against Washington. He is out with a torn left meniscus.

[RELATED: John Wall on Bogdanovic & the East after the trade deadline]

--Saric punished the Wizards when they switched, going from Morris to a smaller defender on him like Wall, Beal or Otto Porter (seven points, four rebounds). He didn’t give up the ball and used his 6-10 frame to get to the rim or force the help and find the open man. He did most of his damage in the first half where he had 12 points, eight rebound and four assists. Beal and Morris kept switching on the handoffs between Saric and T.J. McConnell (10 points, eight assists), the latter of whom has no range from distance. The Wizards put themselves at a disadvantage and the Sixers attacked it successfully.

--The rebounding and hustle plays all went Philadelphia’s way. When Gortat was able to force Jahlil Okafor to miss a jump hook, the Wizards couldn’t gather the rebound. That led to Morris picking up his fourth foul with 9:46 left in the third quarter. Saric’s pullup jump shot on the extra possession put the Sixers ahead 68-51.

--Gortat was out of sync. He missed point-blank shots and instead of shooting at the end of the second quarter on the final possession passed the ball back to Wall who was forced to heave a contested shot that was blocked.

--Beal was in attack mode from the beginning. He was the one player Philadelphia had no answer for as he exploited their hard closeouts at the arc to get to the rim which is why he began 8-for-10.  With the Sixers gambling so much on the outlet passes, the guards were just pushing the ball strong even off makes to get layups on the other end. They scored 45 of the Wizards’ first 70 points.

--Wizards trade deadline acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic (two points, four rebounds) made his first appearance with 3:48 left in the first quarter and entered with 3:00 left in the third. He missed his first shot on a backdown of Nik Stauskas (11 points), the ball going over the rim.  But he was key in the Wizards’ fourth-quarter surge to get the deficit to less than 10 with a steal for a layup.

--With Morris in foul trouble, Jason Smith (four minutes) started the fourth quarter and sparked a brief rally. He had a block of Saric on help to negate a basket and put the Wizards in transition as Beal made a three. He blocked Saric’s three in transition, too. Whether or not this remains the case with Smith losing the time because of Bogdanovic’s arrival isn’t clear yet but his hustle was sorely needed in the first half when this game got away.

--The upgraded Wizards’ bench combined to score 11 points with Trey Burke (five points) as the top producer.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Lights go out at arena during Sixers-Wizards game]

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Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Whether it's good or bad, nothing the Wizards do is subtle. 

They'll score a million points and give up two million points. They'll beat the Heat, Nuggets and Celtics without Bradley Beal but also blow an 18-point fourth quarter lead to the Bulls. 

The Wizards had some turnover issues Friday night, but again, they're never subtle. 

Washington committed 28 turnovers on the way to a 29-point loss. Following the first seven minutes of play, the Wizards had seven turnovers and seven points. 

The last time the Wizards turned the ball over that much was April 2, 1994, in a 104-96 win over the Bucks. The last time an NBA team turned it over 28 times? The 2010 Suns. 

Nine Wizards players had multiple turnovers, while five players had at least three. 

Following Bradley Beal's comments criticizing the team's culture and need to develop winning habits, the Wizards' response left more than enough to be desired. Credit the Raptors defense utilizing their length and ball pressure to take advantage of when the Wizards were loose with the ball, but it takes more than good defense to turn it over 28 times. 

The bright side is this was an uncharacteristic performance for the Wizards. They currently average the 10th-fewest turnovers per game in the NBA, so there's a good chance they clean things up on Monday against the Pistons. 

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Wizards barely put up a fight vs. Raptors after Bradley Beal's strong comments

Wizards barely put up a fight vs. Raptors after Bradley Beal's strong comments

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 140-111 on Friday night on the road. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. In case anyone was wondering how the Wizards would respond to Bradley Beal's strong comments about the team's culture, the answer is not well.

The Wizards barely put up a fight against the Toronto Raptors in a lopsided loss. They lost by 29 and trailed by as many as 33.

One reason was they committed 28 turnovers. They also allowed the Raptors to make 22 threes. That's the third-most allowed in one game by the Wizards in franchise history.

This was the Wizards' 41st game of the season. With a 13-28 record, they are on pace to win 26 games.

2. The Wizards didn't just lose this game, they may have lost backup shooting guard Jordan McRae for an extended period of time.

McRae stepped on a shoe at midcourt and rolled his left ankle. He immediately went down in obvious pain and had to be carried off the floor and into the locker room. 

It was reminiscent of the ankle injury Garrison Mathews suffered nearly two weeks ago. That one fortunately did not result in a fracture or ligament damage. He just had a bad ankle sprain.

Just like Mathews, McRae suffered his injury at a time when he was playing well and really coming into his own. Tough timing.

3. There weren't many positives for the Wizards in this one, but Isaac Bonga certainly was one. The second-year wing dropped a career-high 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds and a steal. Five of his rebounds were on the offensive end.

Bonga shot 6-for-9 from the field and hit two threes. His continued development as a scorer has been impressive to watch this season.

4. Davis Bertans is such a good shooter that when he releases the ball, it is expected to go in. Even rarer, it seems, he misses two in a row.

Every once in a while, once in a blue moon, he has a legitimate off-shooting night. Friday was one of those nights. Bertans had 12 points and shot 3-for-11 from three.

Per usual of late, Bertans wasn't exactly open due to his place on the scouting report but he got decent looks. Many of his threes clanged off the front of the rim. 

Maybe he had tired legs. Whatever it was, the Latvian Laser didn't have it like he usually does.

5. The Isaiah Thomas experience has not been good as of late. The Wizards point guard at another bad game, this time with eight points in 16 minutes.

He just looked off; sluggish and making mental mistakes. That included two turnovers in the first quarter when he passed the ball as the shot clock expired.

Those decisions were inexcusable and in his last 10 games, Thomas has averaged 8.5 points while shooting 34.4 percent. He has not been the same guy since coming back from his calf injury in mid-December. But it's been more than physical. His head hasn't seemed to be in the game like it was earlier this season.

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