It looked for the first half that the Wizards were following through on their cries for increased effort and urgency. Then the second half happened. In the end, it was just another 20+ point loss, this time by a score of 117-94 in Philadelphia.
John Wall had himself another solid night for Washington, which trailed by just five at halftime. But the Wizards surrendered 34 points in the third quarter and only scored 15. From there, the game was pretty much over.
Wall scored 21 points and dished out 12 assists, but he far and away the Wizards most productive player. Nick Young and Andray Blatche combined to go 12-for-31 from the field, which is not going to get it done.
The Sixers killed the Wizards on the glass, where the held a 49-34 advantage, and attempted 11 more free throws. Thad Young had a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) off the bench to lead the Sixers.
With the swirling NBA trade winds, it's easy to forget that there's a basketball game going tonight in Philadelphia. It's a good game even, I'm told by Steve Buckhantz, with the Sixers leading by a score of 54-49 at the half.
In the actual game, John Wall leads the Wizards with 16 points, three rebounds, and six assists. He is 3-for-4 from the line, continuing to aggressively attack the basket. Meanwhile, his point guard counterpart Jrue Holiday is leading the Sixers attack with 11 points, two assists and two steals. Holiday has only missed two shots.
The Wizards continue to get killed on the glass, this time allowing the Sixers a 25-18 rebounding advantage. The teams are shooting identical percentages from the field, so that difference on the glass -- and the fact that the Sixers are making their free throws -- accounts for the the slim margin on the scoreboard. The Sixers also have a 21-9 advantage in bench scoring, led by 10 points from Thad Young.
Unlike on Tuesday night against the Pacers, the Wizards are competing in this game. It remains to be seen if they can continue that in the second half.
Stay with SB Nation DC for more updates from the game, and on the trade front. Also check out Bullets Forever where Mike Prada provides more wisdom.
The Wizards barely showed up in their return to the court on Tuesday following the All-Star break, losing 113-96 to the Pacers. Wednesday night in Philadelphia, they have a chance to get back on track.
This is the fourth and final matchup vs. the Sixers for Washington, which won the first two meetings between the teams, and dropped the most recent one on Jan. 5. It took some time, but Doug Collins has vastly improved the Sixers. After losing 13 of its first 16 contests, Philadelphia has been playing solid basketball, and enter this game at 27-29, having won seven of its last 10.
The Sixers sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, and are fighting for playoff position with the Wizards last opponent, Indiana. The Sixers -- who have already matched their win total from last season -- could in some senses serve as a model for the Wizards in their rebuilding process. Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday is a guy who turned a strong finish last season into a step forward this year.
Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see how the Wizards respond after looking listless last night against the Pacers. As I wrote earlier today, it's going to get ugly this season if last night represents the effort that Washington brings night in and night out.