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Wizards defeated by Sixers, 107-98, as Bryant tallies another double-double
FINAL: Wizards 98 | Sixers 107
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (19), Jerome Robinson (19), Troy Brown Jr. (17)
Sixers: Joel Embiid (30), Tobias Harris (17), Josh Richardson (15)
On Wednesday, the Wizards were defeated 107-98 by the Sixers despite 19 points each from Thomas Bryant and Jerome Robinson. The Wizards scored just 20 points in the first quarter, missing their only 3-point attempt, but kept it close before the offense woke up in the second. Washington shot 40.9% from the field and 57.1% from three in the second quarter and took a 36-35 lead on a Jerome Robinson free throw with 7:19 left in the first half. Robinson and fellow reserve guard Shabazz Napier combined for 18 points in the first half. Philadelphia countered with a 12-2 run and took a seven-point lead into halftime.
Thomas Bryant scored the first seven Washington points of the third quarter as the Wizards came alive out of the halftime break. Bryant and Troy Brown Jr. combined to quickly erase a seven-point Sixers lead, part of a 21-9 run to start the second half. The Wizards led by as many as five before Joel Embiid scored seven straight points to end the third and gave Philadelphia a 77-74 lead entering the fourth quarter. Embiid stayed hot and the Sixers jumped out to an 11-point lead early in the fourth, but a Robinson three with 8:37 left ended the Sixers’ momentum. Bryant and Brown Jr. combined for 15 points in the fourth and the Wizards whittled the lead down to four with less than two minutes to play, but clutch free throws from Embiid sealed the Sixers’ win.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Bryant’s double-double streak hits three
Coming off standout performances against the Nets and Pacers, Thomas Bryant stayed hot in what was his biggest test of the seeding period. Matched up primarily against Joel Embiid, a two-time All-Defensive Team center, Bryant tallied his third consecutive double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) and put on a defensive performance that caught Wizards head coach Scott Brooks’ eye.
“It was the best defensive game I’ve ever seen him play,” Brooks said postgame. “He was aware. He was anticipating. His hands were up and he jumped. When you just do those two things, you give yourself a chance to get a defensive stop at the rim. I thought tonight, like I said, he was outstanding pretty much on both ends.”
After scoring just two points in the first half, Bryant scored 17 points on 7-11 (.636) shooting. He also registered four blocks, tying a career high set earlier this season against Houston. In his last three games, Bryant is averaging 23.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game.
Winning the rebounding battle
The Sixers came into Wednesday’s matchup as one of the best rebounding teams in the league, notably on the defensive end. This season, they rank second in the NBA in defensive rebounding percentage (80.2) while the Wizards rank 28th (75.1). But thanks to a team-wide effort on the boards, Washington topped Philadelphia 48-41 in the total rebounding battle, 39-35 in defensive rebounds and 9-6 in offensive rebounds. Bryant led the way with 10 boards for the Wizards, capped by an offensive rebound and put-back lay-up in the final minutes to clinch his double-double. All five Washington starters grabbed at least five rebounds, including eight apiece from Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura and Isaac Bonga.
Embiid shines after Simmons’ early exit
Despite a career-best defensive performance from Bryant and strong rebounding effort from the Wizards, Embiid still managed to put up a dominant stat line. The big man totaled 30 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks in 32 minutes. After fellow Sixers star Ben Simmons exited the game with a knee injury with 5:46 left in the third quarter, Embiid went to work, scoring 19 of his 30 points to dig Philadelphia out of a deficit and carry them down the stretch.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT