A recap of the Washington Wizards 103-78 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers:
Why the Wizards lost:
During all of training camp Wizards coach Flip Saunders has stressed defense and effort. Washington lacked both Friday night. But more concerning was their inability to find any type of rhythm offensively. They shot just 25 percent in the first quarter and it never got any better.
The Wizards didnt exactly slow down Philadelphia either. The Sixers were able to get into the lane at will and at one point they led by 40 points.
Two minutes into the third quarter Saunders pulled his entire starting five of John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Rashard Lewis, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee. Yes, this may be the first preseason game of the season but obviously Saunders is trying to send a message to his team. Hes said that he was going to hold his players more accountable for their actions and well see how they respond.
Its only the first preseason game of the season.
This couldnt have been the start Saunders and Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld were hoping for. Theyve both raved about how this Wizards team should be improved from last season. Granted its only one game but last season the Wizards hung tough with 76ers. Tonight they were embarrassed.
Washington simply couldnt buy a basket tonight. They hovered around 30 percent shooting for most of the game and went 3-for-15 from three-point range. Meanwhile Philly shot 51 percent from the field and 47 percent from beyond the arc.
During training camp Saunders has been handing out a hardhat each practice to the player who worked the hardest. Tonight that award would go to Andray Blatche. Instead of settling for outside jump shots he took the ball strong to the basket. That aggressiveness resulted in eight trips to the free throw line. Blatche finished with 18 points and four rebounds in 25 minutes.
The Wizards will get another shot at the Sixers when they close out the preseason in Philadelphia on Dec. 20.