With Joel Embiid in foul trouble in the first half, the eighth-seeded Washington Wizards had a golden opportunity to steal Game 1 of their first-round series against the number one seed in the East, the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.
However, they could not stop Tobias Harris in that first half. Harris scored 28 of his game and career-playoff high 37 points in the first half, Embiid added 21 of his 30 points in the second half, and Ben Simmons had six points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists as the 76ers defeated the Wizards 125-118 at Wells Fargo Center.
Game 2 will be in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Washington had six players in double figures led by Bradley Beal’s 33 points.
“I’m surprised we didn’t win,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said after the game. “We went to the game thinking about winning… We were solid but not good enough.”
Despite Harris; heroics in the first half, Washington led 62-61 at halftime. However, Philadelphia started to gain control in the third behind Embiid’s 13 points in the quarter, and Philly would take a 99-93 lead into the fourth. Washington would get the lead to as low as five points with just under one minute left. With a chance to slice the lead to three, Russell Westbrook stepped out of bounds, and Philly would hold on for the victory.
According to Beal, who scored 17 points in the third quarter, Washington did not play their best basketball on Sunday.
“I don’t think I played great,” Beal said. “I don’t think I had a good game. I think we still got a couple levels we can tap into.”
Beal is correct. The Wizards can play better. While Westbrook had 16 points, 14 assists, and five rebounds on Sunday, he did have six turnovers and shot 7/17 from the field, so they can get more from him.
Harris will probably not score 28 points in a half again in this series, but if Embiid stays out of foul trouble, he probably scores more than 30. The Wizards will have to limit everybody else not named Embiid because they have no answer for the All-Star center.
Philly was a little rusty in this contest after a week off, so this was the perfect game for the Wizards steal. However, this is the playoffs, so both teams will make adjustments, but it’s clear after Game 1 that the Wizards, who shot 55 percent from the field, can hang with the 76ers.
Now, in terms of winning this series, Washington will have to play better than they did in Game 1 to get that done.
-Harris and Embiid became the first Philadelphia teammates with at least 30 points in the same playoff game since 1990.
The battle for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference came down to the final day of the season, and what happened between the Wizards(34-38) and the Hornets(33-39) on Sunday, epitomized what Washington has been about all season long.
Washington trailed by 14 points after one quarter and trailed 90-79 entering the fourth quarter. However, just like they’ve done all year long, they fought back. Bradley Beal, who returned after missing three games due to a hamstring injury, scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth, and Russell Westbrook added eight of his 23 points in the final quarter as the Wizards defeated the Hornets 115-110 at Capital One Arena.
Westbrook also had his 184th career triple-double on Sunday as he added 15 rebounds and 10 assists. For Charlotte, Terry Rozier scored 22 points, and LaMelo Ball added 19.
With the victory, Washington will be the eighth seed and will take on the seventh-seeded Celtics in Boston on Tuesday night in the Play-In Tournament. If Washington wins, they will be the seventh seed. If they lose, the Wizards will play the winner of the 10th-seeded Hornets and the ninth seeded Pacers for the eighth seed.
This win completed a big turnaround for the Wizards. Heading into their April 7 game against the Magic, Washington was 17-32 and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Washington rallied with the second-best winning percentage in the league from April 7 to finish 17-6 in the final 23 games of the season.
Back to Beal, he was clearly not himself to begin the game, but he started to warm up as the game went along, and despite the injury, Beal got it done, which impressed Wizards head coach Scott Brooks and Westbrook.
“I cannot say enough about Brad’s toughness,” Brooks said. “He is so skilled and athletic, but the four years I’ve been here, there’s not a lot of guys that have his mental toughness, and his focus, and his determination.”
Westbrook added on Beal: “You appreciate guys like him and don’t take his talent, his mental, his anything for granted,” Westbrook said. “He wants to win, and he wants to win bad.”
For the Wizards to get to the playoffs, they need Beal to be healthy, and hamstring injuries are tricky, so it will be interesting to see what he will look like in the Play-In Tournament.
This win over the Hornets and this season is a credit to the veteran leadership on this team, led by Westbrook and Beal. Washington could have quit when they were 17-32, but they didn’t, and now they are one win away from making the playoffs.
Robin Lopez had 18 points and six rebound, and Ish Smith scored 14 points. Both players combined for 32 points off the Wizards’ bench on Sunday.
Beal finished the season averaging 31.3 points per game, the second highest in the league and the second highest in team history.
Listen to Westbrook, Lopez, and Smith as they discuss the Wizards’ win over the Hornets:
Troy Brown Jr. got his chance on Tuesday night to start at point guard for the Washington Wizards against the Milwaukee Bucks, and just like a lot things for the Wizards in Orlando, it was a learning experience.
The 21-year-old Brown, who played point guard in high school, struggled at that position against Milwaukee, and the Wizards’ offense did not have much of a flow. Brown finished the game 3-15 from the field with nine points, six rebounds, and three assists in 30 minutes. The second-year player has played well in the bubble, but Tuesday night’s performance, which ended with the Bucks winning 126-113, was a very forgettable night for Brown.
With the loss, the Wizards are 0-7 in Orlando. The team has one more chance to get a victory when they battle the Celtics on Thursday.
After the game, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks assessed Brown’s performance against Milwaukee.
“He got a learning experience, and sometimes it happens that way,” Brooks said. “He didn’t play well; we didn’t have a good start. I’m not throwing it all on him. We just didn’t have any rhythm. We have some decisions to make on some of the things that we do.
“I’m not going to judge Troy off of one game. He didn’t have a good shooting game. He just didn’t have a good feel for the game tonight for some reason. I know being a bad, former point guard, there’s so many things; there’s so many intangibles, and there’s so many things that you’ve done your entire life, so the instincts just come out. Troy does not have that right now at that position.”
Brown has a lot to learn in the NBA. Rarely do players in the league get the opportunity these young Wizards’ players have in Orlando, and no matter their record, this learning experience will be beneficial for Brown and the Wizards moving forward.
In every game in Orlando, the Washington Wizards have played hard, but on Sunday, at times, the energy was not there against Oklahoma City. Behind Darius Bazley’s 23 points and Danilo Gallinari’s 20, OKC would beat Washington 121-103. Washington(24-46) is now 0-6 in Orlando.
Oklahoma City(43-26) was without Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel on Sunday, but it didn’t matter. The Thunder were up by nine after one and pushed the lead to 16 at halftime. Washington was never in this contest and trailed by as much as 22 points. For the Wizards, Jerome Robinson led the way with 19 points off the bench.
“The name of the game is to win,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said after the game “We are all in it to win. We haven’t won a game, but we’re still going to teach, and we’re still going grow, and we’re still going work on the correct habits. That’s what we’re all here to do..
“I thought our guys competed. It’s about working on the right habits; we been doing that. I would like to see all of us get rewarded in the next two games.”
Washington has two games left against Milwaukee and Boston. Both of those teams have secured their playoff spots. Boston is locked in the third seed, and the Bucks have clinched the number one seed in the East. Therefore, if you see Milwaukee and Boston’s starters, it might not be for long, so hopefully, for Washington, they can get one or both of the final two games.
Oklahoma City matched a season-high with 18 three-pointers made against Washington on Sunday.
-Isaac Bonga played well for the Wizards on Sunday. He was active and finished the game with 14 points and 8 rebounds.
-Wizards G Shabazz Napier missed Sunday’s game against the Thunder with a high ankle sprain.
-Washington gets back at it on Tuesday against the Bucks.
The Washington Wizards had their moments on Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans and led the game at halftime, but a bad third quarter buried them. In that quarter, they were outscored 37-25 by New Orleans. Ultimately, behind Jrue Holiday’s game-high 28 points, the Pelicans would cruise to a 118-107 victory over Washington.
The Wizards(24-45) are 0-5 in Orlando, and with the loss, Washington is officially eliminated from the playoffs. There were some bright spots for Washington against New Orleans. Rui Hachimura led the way with 23 points. Thomas Bryant added 22 points, and Troy Brown Jr. had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.
While Washington will not make the playoffs, head coach Scott Brooks is happy with the team’s growth.
“Coming down here, that was our goal, get involved in the play-in game,” Brooks said after the loss to the Pelicans. “We didn’t reach that, but we also had other goals to develop, and keep getting better, and keep playing the brand of basketball that we want to play. A lot of guys are getting great experience. I couldn’t ask for better effort over the last five or six weeks. We still got a week to go—a lot of good things. We’re not winning any games, nobody is happy with that, but I’m happy with the progress..
“Our job is to keep evaluating and figure out before next season starts who’s going to be with us and who’s not.”
No one wants to lose, but Bryant understands Washington is still growing and looking toward to the future.
“It is difficult because everybody wants to win,” Bryant said. “I know everybody in our locker room; coaches included, players included want to win every time you step out on that floor, but sometimes you gotta look at the bigger picture on how things are going to work out.”
Development is the name of the game for the Wizards, and we have seen that from the young players on this team. Bryant, Brown, Jerome Robinson, and Hachimura have played well at times in Orlando, which is good news for a team expected to have two All-Star caliber players in John Wall and Bradley Beal next season.
Not many expected Washington to do much in Orlando without Beal and Davis Bertans, and in reality, 0-5 is not surprising when it comes to this team. On paper, it appeared Washington and the Brooklyn Nets were the two least talented teams in the bubble, and after five games, Brooklyn is 3-2, and Washington is the only winless team. The Wizards have three games left, and that’s three games to get better, and hopefully, find a way to get a victory.
-Wizards’ Ish Smith finished the game with 18 points, 10 assists, and six rbounds against the Pelicans.
-Pelicans’ rookie phenom Zion Williamson, who played on Thursday against the Kings, missed Friday’s game against the Wizards due to rest.
-Washington will battle the OKC Thunder on Sunday.
At the NBA level, they’re no moral victories, but when you’re the Washington Wizards, and you’re without three of your best players, well, maybe they’re moral victories.
On Wednesday, the Wizards(24-44) fought and played hard against the Philadelphia 76ers(41-27), but it was not enough as they would lose 107-98. Philly’s Joel Embiid scored a game-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and for the Wizards, Thomas Bryant had another strong performance as he had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Bryant not only played well on the offensive end, but he was stellar on defense. The third-year player had a career-high four blocks against Philadelphia. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks was happy with Bryant’s performance, especially what he saw on defense.
“It was the best defensive game I’ve ever seen him play,” Brooks said about Bryant after the game. “I think he needs to continue to focus on that end. We talked to him about it; we showed film on it, and he’s steps up. He’s getting better. He’s a young player that’s developing. Sometimes we want it to be right now, but it takes time.”
According to Bryant, he has been working hard to get better on the defensive end.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Bryant said about his defense. “Keep improving every day. That’s my main thing. Keep improving, especially on the defensive end. Guarding multiple positions, taking the challenge head-on.”
In the last three games, Bryant is averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds. The 23-year-old Bryant is a solid offensive player, but he must improve on the defensive end if he wants to take that next step.
In the end, what happened on Wednesday is a step in the right direction for Bryant.
76ers’ Ben Simmons left the game in the third quarter with a left knee injury. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the MRI on Simmons’ left knee came back clean, and he’s expected to be day-to-day.
-Rui Hachimura continues to struggle with his shot. Hachimura, who scored 8 points against Philadelphia, was 2-11 from the field, and in the last three games, Hachimura has shot 8-28(28%) from the field.
-After scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter against Indiana, Jerome Robinson had another strong game on Wednesday. Robinson scored 19 points, including 2-4 from downtown.
-Washington returns to action on Friday against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The effort was there; the energy was there, but unfortunately, the talent is not there for the Washington Wizards. On Monday, Washington cut a 22-point 4th quarter deficit to seven but would lose to the Pacers 111-100. With the loss, the Wizards(24-43) fall to 0-3 in Orlando.
Fresh off a 53-point performance against the 76ers on Saturday, T.J. Warren had another strong game for Indiana. Warren had a game-high 34 points, and 11 rebounds, and Malcolm Brogdon added 20 points. For Washington, Thomas Bryant poured in 20 points and 11 rebounds. After Washington cut Indiana’s lead to two in the third quarter, the Pacers went on a 22-2 run to close the quarter and take complete control of the game.
At this point, it’s about developing players for the Wizards, and for a good part of the fourth quarter, we saw Troy Brown Jr. at point guard, a position he played in high school. Brown had some nice moments at the point, including a great pass to Thomas Bryant that led to a dunk.
TB x TB Special! pic.twitter.com/4T7OOLmuBU
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) August 3, 2020
“For me, it felt natural,” Brown, who finished with 10 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds, said after the game about getting time at point guard. “Today, I had more turnovers than I wanted to, but at the end of the day, I feel comfortable calling the offenses, bringing the ball up, and just initiating the offense and kind of getting us into a flow.”
After the game, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks hinted at the 21-year-old Brown getting more minutes at the point guard position.
“We have to see what we have at a lot of different positions,” Brooks said. “These are great minutes. We’re not just giving minutes to give them. Players gotta earn them, and if you’re not playing well, we’re going to throw other guys in there. That’s why we are here.
“We are here to get better; we’re here to improve, and there might be another game where Troy(Brown) maybe starts at the point. You never know; we just have to be ready. We want to continue to build him as a multiple position player. If you want to call him a positionless player, that’s even better, but I think he has to be ready to play all spots.”
The next five games should interesting for the Wizards in terms of development. This is now the time to start experimenting. Brown at the point is a good start, and if he flourishes at that spot, maybe he’ll get some backup point guard minutes next season, or at times, Brown could get minutes at the point, which could free up John Wall.
Young players grow by playing, and the Wizards will continue to have that opportunity the rest of the way.
-After struggling earlier in the game with his shot, Washington’s Jerome Robinson got hot in the fourth quarter. Robinson scored 16 of his 17 points in the quarter, which got the Wizards back into the game.
-The Wizards are 7.5 games behind the Nets for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington must be within four games of the 8th-seeded team to force a play-in game.
-Rui Hachimura did not have a big scoring game( 9 points) on Monday, but he did have seven rebounds and a career-high six assists, and his coach was happy with his performance
Brooks on Hachimura:
“I thought he had a great game. He rebounded, he passed.”
-Washington returns to action on Wednesday against Philadelphia.
On Wednesday, the Washington Wizards got their first taste of life without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, and while they would fall to the Denver Nuggets 89-82, in the team’s first scrimmage, there were some bright spots.
Rookie Rui Hachimura played very well for Washington. He was able to get anywhere he wanted on the floor. Hachimura was 6-14 from the field and scored 18 points, along with nine rebounds. The 14 field goal attempts were a team-high.
Hachimura shined, and Wizards head coach Scott Brooks was happy about what he saw from him against Denver.
“I thought he was good,” Brooks said about Hachimura after the game. “He was obviously aggressive. He got good shots. He gets to his spot. I love this about his game. He gets to his spots, and he gets on balance, and he takes the shot. Those are very high percentage shots. He just needs to keep doing that. There’s going to be games where he doesn’t have the high in shots.
“I like the way he played tonight. I was really pleased how he came back. You can just see that he just has a good feel for the game for being a young player in the league.”
Hachimura is going to get a lot of touches in Orlando. He is the team’s best weapon, and without Beal and Bertans, Hachimura knows he and others have to do more on the offensive end for Washington to be successful.
“John(Wall) is not here, Brad(Beal) is not here, and DB(Bertains) is not here,” Hachimura said after the game. “So, me, Ish(Smith), and TB(Troy Brown) gotta be the ones that gotta score a lot.”
Troy Brown Jr. had a solid game against the Nuggets. He did it all for Washington as he scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out five assists. Ish Smith added 10 points off the bench for the Wizards.
Washington’s next scrimmage is Saturday against the Clippers.
Nuggets rookie Bol Bol made his NBA debut on Wednesday. The 7-foot-2 Bol, who missed most of the season due to a foot injury, was impressive against the Wizards. The son of former NBA player Manute Bol had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Bol also added six blocks.
The Nuggets had only eight players available against Washington on Wednesday, and because of that, C Nikola Jokic started at point guard.
Watch Bol highlights below:
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 22, 2020