WASHINGTON — Well, at least give Ben Simmons and the rest of the Philadelphia 76ers credit for honesty.
They didn’t try to hide from the fact that they were sloppy with the ball — to the tune of 21 turnovers, a combined 15 from Simmons and Joel Embiid — or that their defence was half-hearted — they let one opponent make his first half-dozen 3-point attempts — or that their overall showing was, to use Tobias Harris’ word, "Terrible."
As well as the Sixers have been playing at home lately, they just can’t consistently get their act together on the road, and the latest disappointment for a team that has serious aspirations for the post-season was a 119-113 loss at the struggling Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
"I just think," Simmons said, "we came in too relaxed."
The Sixers dropped to 5-7 away from Philadelphia — where they are 10-0 this season — despite 33 points from Harris, 26 points and a season-best 21 rebounds from Embiid, and 17 points and 10 assists from Simmons.
"I didn’t think we responded well at all. I thought that it took us about 36 minutes, 38 minutes, to come with an energy that we have been playing with," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said.
Facing one of the most lax defences in the NBA, Embiid had eight turnovers and Simmons seven. The Wizards ended up converting all of the turnovers into 30 points, quite a gift for a team that lost five of six games entering the night.
"There was just a lot of bad turnovers all around," Harris said. "It’s something that’s been hurting us all year. We’ve known that."
Rookie Rui Hachimura scored 27 for Washington, Bradley Beal had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Davis Bertans scored 19 of his season-high 25 points in the second quarter.
In the first half, he shot 8 for 8 overall, 6 for 6 on 3s, and totalled 22 points.
"He’s the best shooter that I’ve ever seen," Hachimura said.
The 76ers have lost 10 games in a row at Washington; their last victory in the nation’s capital came on Nov. 1, 2013.
Still, the Wizards started this one about as poorly as possible at the offensive end, missing their first five shots and turning the ball over twice before finally making a basket after nearly 4 minutes.
Raul Neto hit 3s on consecutive trips down the court to put the Sixers ahead 33-22 late in the first quarter. Bertans took over in the second, though, scoring 12 points in a row for Washington in one stretch and sparking a 16-2 run.
"Kind of a punch in the face for them," Bertans said.
76ers: Had won eight of their last nine games. … G Josh Richardson missed his fourth consecutive game because of right hamstring tightness. "A hamstring is one of those things where you think that you’re fine and you take one wrong step and it’s a week or two-week setback," Richardson said. "I don’t really want to get in that whole scenario." … Made 8 of 14 attempts on 3s in the first half, 5 of 14 in the second. Wizards: Washington got back two reserve centres Thursday after injury absences: Ian Mahinmi (right Achilles) made his season debut, getting seven points and five rebounds in 13 minutes; Moe Wagner (left ankle) returned after missing two games and had five points and 11 rebounds.
SO MANY INJURIES
Washington’s roster has been injury-depleted all season so far, most prominently missing All-Star point guard John Wall. Each day seems to bring more bad news, and Thursday was no different: Point guard Isaiah Thomas was a late scratch with a bad calf, while guard-forward Jordan McRae was ruled out for no less than two weeks because of a right finger problem.
Others unavailable at the moment include starting centre Thomas Bryant and forward C.J Miles.
76ers: Host Cleveland on Saturday night to open a three-game homestand.
Wizards: At Miami on Friday night.