Sixers hoping to return to form after bad loss to Washington Wizards
WASHINGTON – Tobias Harris didn’t mince words Tuesday night.
Harris and his 76ers teammates had suffered a 116-111 setback to the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena in a game they had no business losing.
“It comes down to us on the defensive end and how we start a game,” he said, “and knowing every game in the NBA is tough to win. And you respect and honor every opponent.”
The setback — suffered against the 14-21 Wizards — was a reminder of what it takes to win in the NBA.
» READ MORE: Sixers vs. Wizards: Losing to lesser competition in DC, Joel Embiid’s obvious disappointment
The Sixers (20-13) took an eight-game winning streak into the contest, thanks in part to Joel Embiid and James Harden and strong defense.
For the most part, Harden and Embiid played at their elite levels.
Harden, an All-NBA guard, added 26 points, 13 assists, three steals and a block. Embiid finished with a game-high 48 points, along with 10 rebounds, three steals and a team-high three blocks.
However, the All-NBA center struggled mightily on the court. The Sixers also had defensive deficiencies, especially in the first half as the Wizards shot 55.8%. Philly trailed by 16 points in the third quarter.
“Obviously, we had really good games with good flow,” Harris said. “But we also have to know that we have a consistent game every night of where we can put our hats and know what worked for him.”
As the Sixers tried to respect every opponent, could Tuesday’s result be a result of the Wizards being overlooked?
Washington had lost 11 of 12 games before beating the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. Meanwhile, the Sixers ended their winning streak with strong wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks.
On paper, Tuesday’s game was supposed to be nothing more than a breather before facing the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night at the Smoothie King Center.
“No. You can not. We will, I don’t know,” Embiid said of the Wizards’ outlook. “I don’t think I did, and I don’t think my teammates did either. It’s the NBA. You can lose on any given night. It’s a good team. They have a lot of great players [Brad Beal], [Kristap Porzingis] AND [Kyle Kuzma]. It’s a good team. They are better than their record says.”
» READ MORE: Sixers lose to Wizards, 116-111, as Joel Embiid’s 48 points aren’t enough
But Embiid added that’s no excuse for losing to the Wizards.
“We just didn’t have it tonight,” he said.
Now, the Sixers will have two days to find their defensive mojo before facing the Pelicans (21-12), who take the second-best record in the Western Conference into Wednesday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves .