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Holiday, Sixers Outlast Wizards: Recap and Analysis

The Philadelphia 76ers (19-26) continued their 8-game home stand against the lowly Washington Wizards (11-33) Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers desperately needed a win after losing in a brutal game to the Memphis Grizzlies. From the outside, Washington looked like an easy win but they had won 6 of 10 with star guard John Wall back in the lineup coming off of a knee injury. The Sixers did not allow Washington to keep their hot streak going, as they dominated all game, winning 92-84.

Young drives against the Wizards (via CSN Philly).

Both teams displayed poor offensive performances in the first half. The teams failed to attack the lane, leading to lots of contested jumpers. The Sixers defense held the worst offensive team in the league to only 11 points in the second quarter. At the end of the half the Sixers found themselves with a sizeable advantage 48-39 despite only shooting 40 percent. Nick Young was the offensive spark the Sixers needed, scoring 11 points off multiple fadaways and stepbacks. He picked up the scoring slack for the Sixers when Jrue had only 6 points in the half.

In the start of the second half everything clicked for the Sixers; they played shut down defense, caused multiple turnovers, and made a flurry of jumpers to pull away by 14 points. Jrue turned it on in the start of the second half as he orchestrated the offense and made key field goals. The Sixers started to attack the paint especially with Lavoy Allen who by the 3rd quarter had not missed a shot. By the end of the 3rd quarter the Sixers had a controlling 10-point lead.

In the fourth quarter the Sixers built up a big lead and it looked like they were in control. The problem for the Sixers all year has been executing at the end of the game. Again the Sixers failed to execute midway through the fourth and allowed the Wizards to reduce the Sixers lead to only 5. The Sixers finally started to execute late and got multiple stops, with Jrue Holiday making a few clutch shots and the Sixers pulling off a relatively easy win.

Keys to the Win

1. Interior Defense

Throughout the game the Sixers did a great job guarding the very good Washington Wizards Center Nene who is averaging 12 points and 7 rebounds a game. Thaddeus Young who was guarding Nene shaded Nene to the baseline rather the middle of the paint. They did this because Nene is a right handed so shading him baseline forces him to go up with his left. Then the Sixers would shift Spencer Hawes from the weak side to help as Nene turned left. When Nene would turn around Spencer was there to block the shot. Leading to a fast break where the Sixers are most effective.

2. Supporting Cast

The Sixers have to have a balanced scoring attack to be effective. Evan and Jrue did not have great games; they did not contribute as much as usual especially in the first half. The Sixers had to rely on other players to put the ball in the basket. The Sixers supporting cast came through in this game and took the scoring pressure off Jrue Holiday. Spencer Hawes had a double double, Lavoy Allen had a season high in scoring, Nick Young made clutch baskets and finished with 18 points, and Dorrell Wright had an all around terrific game.

Play of the Game

The dagger/play of the game came when the Sixers were only up 6 with a minute left; Jrue took the game into his own hands. He took John Wall to school and pulled off a beautiful around the back move to give the Sixers a commanding 8-point lead.

Player of the Game: Dorrell Wright

Dorrell had one of his most terrific games of the year. He had not played in 2 games but he shrugged that off the rust and came of the bench bubbling with energy. He played great team defense, playing consistent weak side defense and shut down on-ball defense. He finished with 7 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists along with 2 steals.

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Categories: 76ers, Beat Writing

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