The Washington Wizards are looking to make a push for the third seed in the East and they have to beat opponents they’re supposed to beat on paper. Despite a packed Wells Fargo Center anxiously awaiting Allen Iverson’s jersey retirement, the Philadelphia 76ers simply didn’t have enough talent to beat a playoff destined team and eventually went on to fall, 122-103.
Even though this had all the makings of a “trap game” for the Wizards, it was obvious from the start that Philadelphia was going to struggle keeping up with John Wall and Co. The Sixers are sporting the second worst defense in the NBA, and John Wall completely sliced them up offensively. He finished the game with 17 points and 16 assists, 8 of which came in the first quarter. Wall didn’t try to do anything spectacular, yet he managed the game extremely well, finding his teammates for numerous open shots.
Trevor Ariza was definitely a beneficiary of John Wall’s passing game tonight. He scored a career-high 40 points on 14-23 shooting from the field, including 8 of 12 from three point territory. Ariza is having the best shooting season of his career, but apparently the Sixers haven’t gotten the memo. Wall found Ariza open for three countless times in the first quarter and it set the pace for the rest of the game. He mixed it up well with a number of drives and he basically got whatever he wanted. Ariza was absolutely spectacular tonight.
Besides Ariza and Wall, I thought everyone who played tonight managed to contribute in some way. Marcin Gortat picked up another double-double, scoring 13 points to go along side 14 rebounds. Trevor Booker scored 14 points and grabbed 7 of his own boards. Martell Webster also chipped in with a quiet 17 points off the bench.
Washington is finally learning how to take care of games they’re supposed to win, so that’s definitely a positive. Their win will certainly be overshadowed by Allen Iverson’s moment tonight, but at least they got their sixth straight win, albeit against a very bad 76ers team.
They’ll be back home on Monday night to face the Memphis Grizzlies. They’ll have a chance to win their 7th straight game and could potentially put themselves 4 games above .500.