In the Bonus | 02.25.18 vs Wizards

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

The following notes and nuggets were taken from the 76ers’ February 25th 109-94 loss to the Washington Wizards.

Click here for a complete recap of the game, and be sure to check out our post-game pod below:

Bonus Points:

• The Sixers’ loss in Washington Sunday brought to an end the club’s winning streak, which, at seven games, had been the longest active streak in the Eastern Conference, and second longest in the NBA (behind Houston’s 12 consecutive victories). The last time the Sixers had won at least eight games in a row was during a nine-game surge from February 12th, 2003 through March 2nd, 2003.

• With Sunday’s outcome, the Sixers and Washington split their season series, a nugget that could be relevant down the road, with both teams very much in the hunt for the third and fourth seeds in the Eastern Conference. Those spots, of course, are accompanied by home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. By virtue of going 2-2 against each other, the Sixers and Wizards will now need a tiebreaker to sort out post-season positioning, should they end the year with matching records. That tiebreaker would be conference performance. Following Sunday’s game, the Sixers were 18-14 against Eastern Conference foes, while Washington improved to 22-15.

• In his regular pre-game interview with our pal @McGinnisThomas, Brett Brown said his pre-game points of emphasis to the Sixers were getting back on defense, tracking down Washington’s 3-point shooters, and finishing rebounding opportunities. Sure enough, those three areas emerged as important statistical storylines Sunday, the Wizards winding up with the upper hand in each. Washington scored 16 fastbreak points (6-9 fg), converted 12 of 25 attempts from outside the arc, and were plus-12 on the defensive glass.

• Ben Simmons got off to a spirited, rim-attacking start Sunday. First came this athletic, give-and-go alley-oop lay-up sequence involving Joel Embiid…

...then, four possessions later, the Aussie tore past Otto Porter and the rest of the Wizards defense on this play.

Against the Wizards, Simmons scored 12 of his 16 points in the paint, with the other four coming from the free throw line. 

• With their stretch run intensifying, the Sixers have lately been putting even more focus than usual on being disruptive defensively. Robert Covington has not only been one of the team’s most active, pesky defenders this season, but among the NBA’s best on this front. He was credited with five deflections Sunday, moving him up to second in the league with 3.9 deflections per game. The swingman’s 4.3 deflections per 36 minutes ties him with Oklahoma City’s Paul George for the NBA’s top mark to-date.

• There’s no question that Washington turned the tide of Sunday’s tilt in the second quarter, during which the Wizards outscored the Sixers 37-20. For the period, the Wiz shot 62.5 percent (15-24 fg, 5-10 3fg). They held the Sixers to 34.8 percent from the field and forced 6 turnovers, en route to opening up a 19-point lead. The first quarter, however, was tight. Neither team led by more than four points, and the final seven and a half minutes of the frame were played within a margin of three points.

• While dunking might not be the first skill that comes to mind when you think of Dario Saric, the burly 6-10 Croatian has recently shown that he’s capable of throwing down. Including the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Game, Saric has unfurled a jam in each of his last four outings, including all three of the Sixers’ games since the All-Star break. Saric has posted a dunk in five of the Sixers’ past six games, and six of their last nine overall. Prior to this spike, the 23-year old hadn’t delivered a slam since the Sixers’ New Year’s Eve visit to Phoenix.

• With Washington up a game-high 22 points midway through Sunday’s third quarter, the Sixers were seeking a lift. T.J. McConnell emerged to give them one, using his standard, spunky spirit to trigger a couple of high-energy plays. Shortly after subbing in, McConnell needed about a minute to come up with this nifty punch-ahead pass to Ben Simmons…

...and a steal that led to a Robert Covington runout dunk.

McConnell was responsible for 4 deflections and 4 steals in Sunday’s contest.

• In the same vein as T.J. McConnell, Richaun Holmes also has a knack for being a sparkplug off the bench. Brett Brown turned to the back-up big man late in the third quarter, and Holmes went on to tally 7 points and 2 rebounds in less than 12 minutes of action. Telling of the Bowling Green product’s impact, he finished the night with a team-best plus-12 rating.

• When Richaun Holmes first checked in with three and a half minutes to play in Sunday’s third quarter, the Sixers paired him up with Joel Embiid. The two logged 8 minutes together the rest of the way, and the Sixers outscored Washington by eight points with the frontcourt duo on the court together. For the season, Embiid and Holmes have been used in tandem for 82 minutes, generating a combined net rating of 23.2 during that time.

• Checking in on Joel Embiid, the All-Star cranked out his third straight 20-point, 10-rebound performance, and 23rd such game of the season. The total ranks fifth-highest among all NBA players, and represents the most for a Sixer since Chris Webber manufactured 23 20-10 games during the 2005-2006 campaign. Embiid’s 31 double-doubles this year puts him ninth on the league leaders chart.

• While it wasn’t enough to slow down the lights out shooting Wizards Sunday, the Sixers managed to score 31 points off turnovers, their second-highest total of the season. They turned Washington over 19 times.