By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer
76ers fans all across the nation had their hopes and dreams of an undefeated preseason dashed on Friday night when they lost their preseason finale, 112-93, to the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Philadelphia 76ers found themselves without the services of All-Star point guard Ben Simmons (lower back tightness) for the second straight game. The team exercised caution with Simmons, who, as multiple reports indicated, would have been on the court if it were a regular season game. Philadelphia went through multiple cold spells and committed 21 turnovers, both of which could have been avoided if Simmons were on the court.
Philadelphia had a good preseason overall, finishing with a 4-1 record. Now the focus shifts to the regular season, where they look to be one of the teams in the mix to contend for a NBA championship this season.
76ers' lack of outside shooting comes back to haunt them
The 3-point shot told the story in the loss to the Wizards. Washington was able to use good outside shooting to open up a sizable lead through the second and third quarters. Due mainly to their hot shooting, Washington outscored the Sixers 67-35 through both the second and third quarters. The Wizards shot 16-of-37 (43.2%) from beyond the arc, led by Jordan McRae's 17 points and perfect 3-point shooting. Meanwhile, the 76ers continued their preseason-long trend of poor shooting from beyond the arc. Philadelphia shot a lackluster 25.9% from 3-point range against Washington. Lack of outside shooting was looked at as a potential weakness of this team, and it was in full effect tonight.
76ers can find success this season using a bully ball mentality
One of the lone bright spots for the 76ers on Friday night was their ability to put their size advantage to good use. From the opening tip to the final whistle, Philadelphia would control the boards on both ends of the court. Offensive rebounding was a focal point for the Sixers tonight, leading to 14 offensive rebounds. Attacking the offensive glass and creating extra possessions is something the 76ers will attempt to capitalize on every night.
The 76ers' size advantage (their smallest starter is the 6-foot-5 Josh Richardson) is something they will have to take advantage of throughout this season, especially if they are not shooting a high percentage from 3-point range.
Shake Milton leaves the door open for earning a spot in the 76ers' rotation
Shake Milton was one of only three players who scored in double figures against Washington. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench. At the beginning of the preseason, it did not look like there was a spot in the rotation for Milton. However, he has showcased his scoring abilities and as a result has potentially earned himself a role to start the season.
Joel Embiid's efficient shooting
Joel Embiid played only 23 minutes in the preseason finale, but he was very efficient on the offensive end en route to having one of his best games of this preseason. He finished with 17 points on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
Important stats and extra things
- Tobias Harris closed out the preseason with another solid performance, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds.
- Furkan Korkmaz failed to take advantage of the golden opportunity which was presented to him against Washington. With Simmons not playing, a spot in the starting lineup opened up and head coach Brett Brown chose to insert Korkmaz in at shooting guard. In 21 minutes, Korkmaz totaled only five points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 shooting from 3-point range.
- Matisse Thybulle continued to play active defense, picking up a steal and a block in his 18 minutes on the court.
- According to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey, the 76ers have informed Isaiah Miles, Christ Koumadje and Haywood Highsmith that they will be waived.
The 76ers will be back in action when they kick off their regular season with a nationally-televised matchup against the rival Boston Celtics on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.