PHILADELPHIA — The Washington Wizards had discussed progress frequently over the last week on the strength of a win against a Western Conference power and three losses by an average of six points. Then they arrived at Wells Fargo Center on a rainy Monday and regressed into the same disinterested outfit that dropped a franchise-worst eight in a row to begin the season.
This game, a 103-83 rout, was over shortly after the Wizards walked into the building. The Philadelphia 76ers made sure of that in front of 10,108 with a 19-4 run in the first quarter that included balanced scoring from the back court and a whole lot of forward Elton Brand, who finished with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds, and was one of six 76ers players in double figures.
The Wizards (2-15), meantime, mishandled and misfired to their heart’s content, generating 14 points in the first quarter to match a season low. Philadelphia closed the first quarter on a 7-0 burst and pushed the lead to 42-20 early in the second.
Washington couldn’t get the margin below 20 in the minutes thereafter, and reserve guard Evan Turner’s three-pointer followed by Thaddeus Young’s basket put the Atlantic Division-leading 76ers ahead by 25. The Wizards then unraveled for good by yielding a 9-2 flurry that included guard Jrue Holiday’s three-pointer for a 30-point buffer.
“We were out of the game from the beginning,” Wizards point guard John Wall said.
All that was left to settle was if the Wizards would incur their most lopsided loss this season, and although they flirted with that for portions of the second half, they did enough to avoid that indignity and even got within 18 in the fourth quarter on reserve guard Jordan Crawford’s jumper with 5 minutes 25 seconds to play. But Holiday’s turnaround jumper and Brand’s 19-footer quickly dismissed any notion of a monumental comeback.
Washington lost to the 76ers (12-5) for a fourth straight time overall, including three in a row this season, and any equity from a 105-102 victory over Oklahoma City and pushing opponents such as Denver and Houston to the brink in the last four games all but vanished. Questions instead lingered regarding the fortitude of a team that stumbled on the road for a seventh consecutive time and lost for the seventh time in eight games overall.
“I was disappointed because I thought we would have come out with a better energized effort early,” Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said. “It’s like when we fell behind, our heads went down. This is a team that’s beaten us a lot, whether we lack confidence against them or whatever. To their credit they executed and shot the ball well.”
The Wizards remarkably had five players reach double figures, with Crawford getting 13 of his 17 points in the second half. Wall, who spent most of the second half watching the debacle from the bench, had 13 points, five assists and four rebounds but committed four turnovers in a shade over 26 minutes.Andray Blatche added 13 points.
“We never let them get started,” 76ers Coach Doug Collins said. “That was really key.”
The loss was all the more galling considering the 76ers missed nearly half their foul shots and Washington, which was 0 for 7 from three-point range, matched its season-low with just nine turnovers. Philadelphia, though, shot 52 percent and made 6 of 16 three-pointers, with Meeks going 3 for 5 from that distance to finish with 15 points.
Holiday contributed 17 points, four rebounds and four assists, and Philadelphia got 45 points from its bench, including Young and Lou Williams each scoring 14 points. Andre Iguodala had 11 of the 76ers 30 assists, and Philadelphia committed just six turnovers while outrebounding Washington, 46-38.
“They don’t play no games with us,” Crawford said of the 76ers, who entered the game No. 1 in the NBA in point differential. “They just attack us. They’ve got our number basically.”