The Philadelphia 76ers have gone without a real superstar all season. Even before the Andrew Bynum trade, the Sixers didn’t have anyone who could take over a game for them in the final minutes. Yet Bynum was supposed to fill that gap this year and hasn’t, with the Washington Wizards and John Wall further showing the Sixers what they’re missing on March 3.
Wall saved the Wizards by scoring the last six points of the game in a 90-87 Sixers loss. Beforehand, Wall only had 10 points while the Sixers had taken the lead on a late 11-0 run. The Wizards also lost Bradley Beal to an injured ankle with two minutes left and the Sixers up by 87-84, which seemed to be the death blow.
But with everything having turned against them up to that point, the Wizards were still lifted up by their best player. Wall not only hit two quick shots to give Washington the lead, he then blocked a shot by Evan Turner and later hit the clinching jumper with four seconds left.
Superstars come up big when it counts on both sides of the court, even when most hope seems lost. Wall may not be on that superstar level yet, especially since he missed the first quarter of this season due to injury. However, he gives the Wizards a game-changing option that the Sixers just don’t have without Bynum.
Both Wall and Bynum suffered knee injuries months ago, yet only Wall is on the court right now and giving his team a boost. The Wizards had their season destroyed when they started 5-28 without Wall, but his return is giving them some measure of respectability again.
That is the kind of progress the Sixers would kill to get from Bynum, yet they have been less lucky than the lowly Wizards on this issue. Of course, there’s no guarantee Bynum could have been that clutch for Philadelphia if he was healthy, especially since he never had that role with the Los Angeles Lakers under Kobe Bryant.
Yet since the Allen Iverson years, the Sixers have never had someone who can take and make the big, late shots on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, the Wizards and Wall proved to them that they have made more progress on that end.