Wizards Comeback Comes up Short in Philly
A game that looked like it was all but over turned into an exciting finish as Washington made a valiant comeback attempt but ultimately came up short in Philly, 118-113. Philly came in fresh while Washington was off a hard fought win in Minnesota and the Wizards, already shorthanded without Wall, missed Beal for the majority of the first half with a laceration on his face. Without Washington's star backcourt, Philly built up a seemingly insurmountable lead. The Wizards employed a 'hack a Simmons' strategy down the stretch and Philly's young star could only hit 15 of his 29 free throws which allowed Washington to get back in the game. He attempted 24 free throws in the fourth quarter which was an NBA record for a quarter. The Wizards cut a once 24 point lead to just three, but couldn't finish the comeback.
For the second night in a row, the Wizards' bench provided much of the offense and apart from Beal, played virtually all of the crunch time minutes. In the comeback attempt, Washington put up 48 in the fourth quarter, by far a season-high for a quarter and the most fourth quarter points for the franchise since 1985. Oubre led the team with a career-high 22 points while Beal and Meeks both added 21. Satoransky played 29 minutes and in a complete effort had 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
The comeback attempt was all about fouling Simmons. The Wizards fouled him in the front court on every possession for about four minutes, giving him the 29 free throw attempts. Both Beal and Oubre fouled out due to this strategy. Washington was trading two or three for one on almost every possession, as the second unit was clicking on all cylinders offensively in the fourth. Philly ultimately got enough buckets in the final two minutes to manage to hold off Washington as a game that looked to be over early turned into a very exciting finish.
Philadelphia's dominant young tandem of Embiid and Simmons was very impressive in this one. Embiid went for 25 points and 14 rebounds while Simmons had 31 points and 18 rebounds. Philly unsurprisingly shot a whole lot of free throws in this one, taking 64 and making 41. It was the most free throw attempts an opponent has ever taken against the Washington franchise.
Washington now gets to return home Friday for one game against Detroit before taking off for the West coast. Friday is Go-Go Night in Washington, and fans will be treated to a postgame show after #WizPistons.