Wizards drop second straight game as 76ers dominate from start to finish

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Chase Hughes
·4 min read
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Wizards dominated by Sixers, drop second straight game originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Wizards lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 127-101 on Friday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

Momentum lost

It's a bit difficult to evaluate where the Wizards are right now, as after losing to the Sixers on Friday night they are now losers of four of their last five, yet they have still technically won eight of their last 13. There have been so many iterations of the Wizards already this season that it is still hard to call it one way or the other. 

Was the winning surge a mirage or is this recent losing skid the mirage? Chances are, the answer is somewhere in between. But what is for sure is that the Wizards need to get back to playing the winning basketball they were playing before the All-Star break. 

They were overmatched against the Sixers, who hold the best record in the Eastern Conference at 26-12. The Wizards, meanwhile, fell to 14-22. They are back to eight games under .500 for the first time since Feb. 17.

Embiid's a handful

The Sixers were playing without All-Star guard Ben Simmons, but they did have Joel Embiid and he's enough to deal with on his own. Embiid, who looks to be a midseason favorite for the MVP award, went off for 23 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in just 20 minutes.

The Wizards tried, they really did. They double-teamed him, they triple-teamed him. Moe Wagner tried to force him to his left into traffic and get him in foul trouble. None of it worked.

Embiid's versatility at his size is astonishing at times. He has long been a good player who shows flashes of greatness, but this year he's putting it altogether. He dunked all over Wagner and Russell Westbrook on one play, pulled up for a transition three on another and also made an and-1 circus shot while guarded by three Wizards players.

Embiid, though, left this game midway through the third quarter with a potentially bad left knee injury. He landed on his left leg and it bent the wrong way. Embiid was able to walk to the locker room on his own, but an MRI will tell the real story. Hopefully, it was just a scare.

Bertans got injured

Davis Bertans left the game in the second quarter and was quickly ruled out for the night with right calf tightness. We should know more postgame when head coach Scott Brooks addresses the media.

Bertans played 10 minutes and had three points. He shot 1-for-5. It's not clear when he hurt his leg, as there was no obvious play where he could have sustained the injury. But certainly it will be something to watch, especially with the Wizards playing the next night on a back-to-back. Bertans had been on fire from three heading into this game, shooting 45.9 percent on 7.4 attempts since the All-Star break.

Beal played, but almost didn't

While Bertans went out, Bradley Beal was able to give it a go despite being a gametime decision. He was dealing with left knee soreness after colliding with Xavier Tillman of the Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Beal didn't show any signs of the injury, as he was just as quick and shifty as usual. But he did have a bit of a tough time with Matisse Thybulle guarding him. Thybulle, of course, had help as the Sixers are a good defensive team and, like every Wizards opponent, overloaded on Beal at every turn.

Beal had 19 points, which is low for him and far from the 60 points he scored on Philly in January.

Howard remains good

While Embiid sat with two fouls in the first quarter and then left in the third, the Wizards weren't able to take advantage to any great degree because of the play of backup center Dwight Howard. The former Wizards big man found little resistance on his way to six points and 10 rebounds.

Howard only played nine games for the Wizards in the 2018-19 season due to a back injury. The fact he played for them at all seems like a random afterthought already, even though it wasn't long ago. But he has since revived his career by winning a title with the Lakers and now thriving off the bench in Philly. 

If he never got hurt that season in Washington, who knows what would have happened. The Wizards were 4-5 with him, and he gave them what they needed very badly; rebounding and screen-setting. Maybe they would have made the playoffs. It remains a major what if.