Dorell Wright missed a fading 3-pointer as time expired as the Philadelphia 76ers fell to the Washington Wizards, 90-87, in one of the sloppiest NBA games I’ve seen all year.
Wright led the Sixers with 15 points while Jrue Holiday, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young all notched 14. Arnett Moultrie was terrific in six minutes, converting all 3 of his field goal attempts. He also set some nice screens, rolled hard to the basket and was solid defensively. However, Collins’ refusal to give him real minutes continues to hurt this team, not just today but for the future as well.
All five Wizards starters reached double figures, led by 16 points from Martell Webster and John Wall. Emeka Okafor continued his dominance of Spencer Hawes and the Sixers this season with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Rookie star Brad (not Jeremy) Beal scored 14 points but left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent sprained ankle.
The Wizards led 50-49 at halftime after an uneventful first 24 minutes in which Dorell Wright was the story for the Sixers, dropping 13 points off the bench on 3-4 from behind the arc. Moultrie failed to see the floor while the trio of Hawes, Young and Lavoy Allen played mediocre at best. Allen in particular looked horrific, like he didn’t want to be out on the floor.
The third quarter, which has been a problem for the Sixers all season, proved so once again as Washington outscored Philly, 22-19, in the period. Had it not been for a late surge, which not-so-coincidentally began once Moultrie finally checked into the game at the 2:21 mark, Philly would have been down double figures heading into the 4th quarter. Arnett had 4 points on two shots at the end of the third and injected some life into the squad defensively.
Trailing 82-78 with five minutes remaining in the game, Holiday finally got going with a jumper to bring the Sixers to within two. He then stole the ball on the other end and after an ill-advised Hawes jumper, corralled the offensive rebound and hit a triple to give the Sixers their first lead of the half. It was also the team’s first three since the second quarter.
But the lead quickly disappeared when John Wall scored six straight points, including a deep two with four seconds remaining to give Washington a three point edge. Philly had forced a contested triple from Webster with 28 seconds to go, but Hawes was unable to keep Nene off of the offensive glass and the Brazilian gave the Wizards one last possession.
Not much else needs to be said. The fact that Moultrie logged just 6 minutes is inexcusable and that in itself should be enough to push Collins out the door. This team looks like a bunch of guys who decided to play intramural ball in college. They don’t run set plays, they don’t take good shots and they don’t do any of the little things that 29 other NBA teams do (Okay fine, 28 other teams, I forgot the Bobcats existed for a second). The Sixers stink and its as simple as that. If you are one of those fans holding off hope that maybe this team gets it together for a late playoff push, you’re delusional.
Finally, I wanted to point out two negative plays stood out to me while I watched tonight’s crap fest and in some way are a metaphor for the entire Sixers’ season to this point. The first occurred at the end of the first half. The Sixers had the ball with 27 seconds left on the game clock and a fresh shot clock. Holiday took the clock down and attempted a layup, which was off the mark, with about five seconds to play in the half. Nene then grabbed the rebound and launched a pass downcourt to a wide open AJ Price, who finished a layup at the other end (actually Wright chased him down but was whistled for a goaltending), a transition basket that Philly had no right surrendering. The second play happened at the end of the third quarter when Lavoy could have grabbed a defensive rebound with about 10 seconds left but failed to do so, giving Washington another possession. He then lost track of Jan Vesely, who converted an alley-oop dunk to give the Wizards momentum heading into the fourth.
The Sixers have now dropped 10 consecutive road games. They return to the Wells Fargo Center this Tuesday, March 5th, to take on the Boston Celtics. I’m looking to
give away my tickets if anyone is interested.