The Philadelphia 76ers stunned the Golden State Warriors on March 2 to snap their seven-game losing streak. Despite their recent misery, the Sixers still upset a playoff-contending team in the Warriors and erased a 16-point first half deficit. With that in mind, the Sixers should have had an easier time beating the much weaker Washington Wizards on March 3, yet it was not the case.
The Sixers reverted back to their old ways by coughing up a late lead in a 90-87 defeat. The Wizards should have been on the ropes, especially when they gave up an 11-0 run in the fourth to give the Sixers the lead, and when Bradley Beal suffered a sprained ankle with two minutes left.
If Philadelphia was a playoff team, it would have finished Washington off and left with the momentum of a two-game winning streak, as well as its first road win in weeks. Instead, John Wall took over and scored the final six points of the game.
Wall even blocked a shot by Evan Turner after the Wizards took the lead for good, then finished the Sixers off with a last-second jumper. He only had 10 points before this late explosion, yet showed up when it hurt the most for Philadelphia.
The Sixers can’t afford to lose winnable games like this, if they still want any shot at a postseason. They can’t afford to lose to teams they should beat like the Wizards, and they certainly shouldn’t lose games they had all but locked up before the final minutes. It is particularly inexcusable after a momentum-changing win over a team they weren’t supposed to beat.
But that is the story of the Sixers’ season, as they forfeited momentum right after they finally appeared to have it. A two-game winning streak might not be a big deal in the big picture, especially over a slumping Warriors squad and the Wizards. Yet it is better than the seven-game losing streak Philadelphia had before this weekend, as well as the 10-game road losing streak it still has.
However, the Sixers didn’t even have enough to start a little winning streak, at least in the final minutes in Washington. If they still envision a real future this season, they will need to go on those streaks and have them last for more than two games.