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A defensive clinic helps the Sixers blowout the Washington Wizards

Would you look at that...A fun and enjoyable Sixers game with no sweating involved. A game dominated by defense, and the duo of Joel Embiid and James Harden. There were come awesome things to take away from this game and some not so awesome things.

Read down below for a quarter by quarter breakdown and some key takeaways from tonight's matchup against the Washington Wizards.

First Quarter

• Both teams started off extremely cold, and the Wizards couldn't stop turning the ball over. It took almost 3 minutes for either team to make their first field goal.

• P.J. Tucker and the Sixers defense has just been ridiculous. It's a bit surprising for P.J. Tucker to show this kind of energy in a meaningless regular season game in March, but its refreshing to see. The Sixers only allowed 19 points in the first quarter. The Wizards shot 40% from the field and 25% from 3.

• James Harden continues to surprise me with his quick first step. The burst that he can get to beat high level defenders is amazing. The lack of burst in last years playoffs is a big reason of why Harden couldn't get what he wanted. This year is a completely different story.

• Sixers should've ended the quarter up 15+, but due to many missed layups and open looks, they only find themselves up by 8 points.

• Tobias Harris seems to have tweaked his ankle early in the first quarter. He didn't go back to the locker room but it's something to keep an eye on.

• Joel Embiid up to 14 points on 50% shooting in the first quarter. Are we going to see another 40+ point game from Embiid?

Second Quarter

• I love when I see Paul Reed and Jalen McDaniels on the floor together. A couple of young, athletic, long (Wingspan wise) players. It can be a defensive matchup nightmare for the opposing team.

• The Sixers bench has given this team some great production in the second quarter, outscoring Washington's bench...Something you don't see too often.

• Jalen McDaniels tweaked his back in the middle of the second quarter. Another thing to keep an eye on.

• Tobias Harris needs to be a better finisher around the rim. There were too many times where Harris had a good look at the rim and he completely missed. He finished the first half with 8 points on 3/8 shooting from the field.

• I thought the Sixers played some lockdown defense on Bradley Beal. He only took 6 shots in the first half and made 3 of them, which had him at 7 points at the end of the half. They are doing anything possible to not let him heat up.

• 30th game this season where Joel Embiid scores 20 points in the first half. Fans are taking this guy for granted, because this is just an everyday thing at this point.

Third Quarter

• James Harden has had a generally underrated defensive season but I want to highlight his defense in the third quarter. He was active everywhere on this end of the ball. He had a steal and some great closeouts.

• One of my favorite things to see when I'm watching Sixers games is the Joel Embiid and James Harden pick and roll. When they get deep into the paint, just give them automatic points because its either gonna be an easy layup or a trip to the free throw line.

• De'Anthony Melton and Joel Embiid putting on a defensive clinic in this quarter. In just two possessions, Melton had 1 block and Embiid had 2. Embiid's defensive presence has been great in this game as a whole, players looking to shoot more jumpers then have to face Embiid in the paint.

Fourth Quarter

• Paul Reed has to be one of my favorite players on this Sixers team. He will outwork anyone on the floor even when he looks silly out there. He will provide some key minutes in the playoffs and I'm hoping the lack of experience doesn't show too often when the time comes. I like the Harden/Reed minutes, because of how open Reed can get when Harden is driving into the paint. Easy buckets for Paul Reed!

• The Harden led bench expands the lead to a game high 23 points and this game seems about over. It's Jaden Springer time.

• I always love watching Jaden Springer. He is a super fun project player, that seems to be sprouting in the G league right now. He had a few nice passes and some great defensive plays in garbage fourth quarter minutes.

• The Dewayne Dedmon minutes were whatever. Nothing that convinced me that he should get actual backup center minutes. He should be an emergency center backup only, and I hope that we never get to that point.

Key Takeaways

• Tobias Harris shot selection and lack of finishing at the rim continues to kill the Sixers. He finished the night with 11 points but shot 4/11 from the field which is...Not good. Harris needs to be better and has to shoot more efficiently. He can make us or break us come playoff time.

• James Harden burst is back and I've never been happier. I know I talk about this a lot in these post game articles, but it looks better and better each night. Especially in clutch minutes when you need a bucket. He will beat any defender in the league off the dribble and will either draw a foul or get an easy layup.

• The Joel Embiid domination continues. Even when you don't think he's having a successful night, you take a look at the box score and you see that he has 35+ points. It happens all the time. This guy seriously deserves the MVP award, especially after the Nuggets are now on a three game losing streak.

• We don't see it much, but tonight we saw the three guard lineup and I love it more and more every time I see it. If you don't know what I'm referring to, its a lineup of Harden/Maxey/Melton. I really like it, and can give the Sixers a different look. We don't have a large enough sample size to say if it's a good enough lineup to insert into a playoff matchup.

• Jalen McDaniels left the game in the second quarter with a hip, or back injury. Not too sure if it's something to worry about but it's definitely something to keep an eye on. It didn't look too serious, could've just tweaked something.

• Give me 48 minutes of Embiid and Harden pick and roll action in the playoffs. We haven't seen a team that has been able to consistently stop it. Is it one of the most unstoppable duos in NBA history? We will see come playoff time.

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