Five observations, 'best' and 'worst' awards from Sixers' loss to Wizards

Joel Embiid dunks against the Wizards during the third quarter Wednesday.

WASHINGTON – Here are my key takeaways and Best and Worst awards from the 76ers’ 120-115 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at the Capital One Arena.

Key takeaways

    1. Ben Simmons’ ability to get to the rim in the preseason wasn’t a fluke. While he’ll need to develop a jump shot, the 76ers rookie was a problem for the Wizards in transition. The 6-foot-10 point guard is a blur in transition and a nightmare for opponents when attacking the rim.
    2. Are Nik Stauskas and Jahlil Okafor in the Sixers’ long-term plans? The two former lottery picks never left the bench last night. And the Sixers could have used Okafor with starting center Joel Embiid on a minutes restriction, backup Amir Johnson fouling out, and reserve post player Dario Saric struggling.
    3. Embiid and Simmons open things up for teammates. Robert Covington and Jerryd Bayless had a lot of wide-open looks while the Wizards focused on stopping Embiid, Simmons and J.J. Redick.
    4. The Sixers are going to need a lot more out of Saric. He struggled against the Wizards, making just 1 of 5 shots and scoring three points. The Sixers will need better production from their second unit to be successful.
    5. Turnovers still doom the Sixers. They committed five costly ones in the fourth quarter and finished with 17.

Best and Worst awards

Best performance: Covington gets this award. The Sixers forward finished with a game-high 29 points on 9-for-15 shooting. He made 7 of 11 three-point attempts and also contributed seven rebounds, two blocks, one steal and an assist.

Worst performance: Saric failed to provide both an impact off the bench and the three-point depth the Sixers are counting on. Saric missed both of his three-pointers and four of five shots overall.  He had as many personal fouls (three) as rebounds (three).

Best defensive performance: This is a tough one because this matchup lacked quality defense for the most part. But I’ll give it to Wizards reserve guard Kelly Oubre Jr. He finished with two blocks and two steals, providing a spark off the bench.

Worst statistic: How can you not give this to the Sixers’ five fourth-quarter turnovers? Those doomed the squad.

Best statistic: This goes to the combined three-point shooting of Covington, Bayless and Redick. They finished 14 for 26 from deep. Covington’s three-pointers tied his career high.  Redick made 4 of 8 threes, and Bayless went 3 of 7.

Worst of the worst: The turnovers by Bayless and Covington on consecutive possessions with the team trailing by two points late.  Those miscues, made while trying to force passes, decided the outcome of the game.