The Washington Wizards (0-2) put up an admirable fight in the first game, but the series quickly got ugly following their Game 2 blowout loss. Bradley Beal was once again playing in an island as his 33 points were not nearly enough to save his team from the Philadelphia 76ers (2-0).
Washington will be +210 betting underdogs as they return home for Game 3 with the 76ers at -250. The point spread is 6½ points. The NBA odds look similar to Game 1 as the results shouldn’t be too different, especially if the Wizards catch fire this Saturday.
76ers: The Catalyst
It was a complete performance for the Philadelphia 76ers on Game 2 as all but two of their players had a positive plus-minus. More specifically, Philadelphia flashed its vaunted defense and held Washington to just 40.9% shooting. Outside of Beal, the team shot just 35.9% and hit just one 3-pointer.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons combined for 44 points on 19-of-27 shooting. Embiid hit 3-of-4 3-pointers, which was the most in the game. The bench was also on fire as G Furkan Korkmaz scored 13 of the unit’s 43 points.
Simmons would be the catalyst of the blowout win as he took over the game from the opening tip-off. Recently criticized for his lack of scoring, Simmons answered his critics with a 12-point first-quarter explosion as the Sixers went up big and never looked back. When Simmons is hot, Philadelphia is on another level.
Wizards: Calling All Wizards
There were no wizards in Game 2, only muggles … poor shooting muggles at that. The Washington Wizards, save for Beal, shot bricks and never quite got into it. Going 2-of-22 from three is one thing, but hitting just 19-of-30 free throws is another.
The Wizards are a team that led the NBA in free throws namely thanks to Beal and Russell Westbrook. However, they combined to hit just 10-of-16. If the team’s shots aren’t falling, they could have made up for it by staying aggressive and getting to the line. But that wasn’t going either.
Washington now needs to dig deep and find a way to resuscitate its offense. Solving Simmons, who has been disrupting their flow, is a start. But the likes of Westbrook and F/C Davis Bertans need to play better.
Pick: Run It Back
We saw two different games with one result so far. Game 1 had a more competitive back-and-forth thanks to better shooting from Washington and tepid scoring from Simmons. Game 2 was a butt-kicking as the Wizards’ offense dried up while Simmons caught fire early.
Moving over to Washington, expect something closer to Game 1 as the Washington Wizards rekindle their offense. Westbrook should have a better performance while Bertans won’t go scoreless as the team should hit more than two threes and shoot better than 40.9%.
With that said, Philadelphia’s size and defense should be a difference-maker. Simmons, even if he isn’t scoring, can continually wreak havoc on Washington’s offense and still make plays while no one is stopping Embiid.
Pick: Philadelphia 76ers -250
Bonus Pick: Big Time
Embiid won’t be contained against the Wizards. The big man is averaging 33 points per 36 minutes in this series and he’s doing it effortlessly. He shot 9-of-16 and 8-of-12 in both games against a helpless Wizards defense.
Oh no. Joel Embiid with one of the most disrespectful after basket celebrations of all time. pic.twitter.com/9EMf7DGifc
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) May 27, 2021
Even with the series shifting to enemy territory, there is little reason outside of a blowout why Embiid doesn’t hit 30 points again. The Wizards should also play better, which would push Embiid to try harder. Scoring over 30 shouldn’t be an issue.