WASHINGTON — There is something about playing here for the 76ers.
The nation’s capital is where they come to lose to the Washington Wizards. Sunday night was no different.
Washington defeated the Sixers, 109-94, at the Capital One Arena. It was the Sixers’ eighth consecutive loss to the Wizards in D.C. They’ve lost 21 of their last 27 games here.
So what’s the problem?
“They are good and it’s their home court,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said of the Wizards’ home dominance before the game.
It’s that simple?
“It’s as simple as that,” he said. “I think they are a good team, and it’s their home court. I don’t [think] there’s any sort of deeper mystery or other answer that most stands out to me. I just think they are good.”
Perhaps, but the Sixers (32-26) came into the contest as the hottest team in the Eastern Conference. They had a seven-game winning streak that, at the time, was second in the league behind the Houston Rockets, who have won 12 straight. This also marked the Sixers’ fifth loss in six road games to any opponent.
However, there had to be some optimism for the Sixers coming into Sunday’s game. They won their previous two meetings against the Wizards (35-25) — both at the Wells Fargo Center — by 13 points on Feb. 6 and five on Nov. 29.
But they suffered the same fate as in their previous seven games here.
“I don’t know. It’s hard to explain,” Dario Saric said of an inability to beat the Wizards on the road. “Maybe they are a good team. They are playing unbelievable right now. They share the ball. They try to attack from every position on the court.”
Wizards reserve guard Kelly Oubre Jr. has an idea why the Sixers struggle to win in D.C.
“At the end of the day, this is our house,” Oubre said in his postgame, on-court interview. “Nobody is going to come in here and say they are going to beat us in our house.”
The difference this time was that the Wizards couldn’t miss shots and the Sixers struggled to make them.
Washington shot 54.4 percent from the field, including going 12 of 25 (48 percent) on three-pointers. The Wizards also made 11 of 12 foul shots. Meanwhile, the Sixers shot 36 percent (31-for-86). They were 9 of 33 (27.3 percent) on three-pointers and made 23 of 31 foul shots.
Taking advantage, the Wizards built a commanding 23-point lead after Bradley Beal’s cutting dunk with 3 minutes, 39 seconds left in the third quarter.
Beal paced the Wizards with 24 points while making 3 of 5 three-pointers. Otto Porter Jr. added 23 points while making 3 of 6 threes. Oubre hit 4 of 7 threes and finished with 19 points.
Joel Embiid finished with a game-high 25 points to go with 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals, a block and five turnovers for his 23rd 20-point and 10-rebound game of the season. It was also the NBA all-star’s 31st double-double of the season.
Ben Simmons finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three turnovers.
The Sixers did pull within eight points twice in the fourth quarter. The second time came on Embiid’s three-point play to make it a 100-92 game with 3:48 left. But the Wizards responded with a 7-0 run for a 15-point cushion with 2:02 remaining.
“Sometimes it’s hard to explain,” Saric said of the team’s losing ways in Washington. “But I think we play against them in the playoffs, we can beat them. And we can beat them on their court.”