John Wall Leads Wizards Past Spooky Talented 76ers In Season Opener

With the Celtics’ post-season hopes crushed by Gordon Hayward’s injury, the Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards have become the two most intriguing teams the Eastern Conference. We know what Cleveland’s about and where they’re headed. The Sixers, however, are an unproven commodity.

Joel Embiid celebrated signing his $148 million extension by putting cornrows in his hair and scoring 18 points to go with 13 rebounds in just 26 minutes. His propensity for injury means the coaching staff will micromanage his minutes all season, but he’s a man among boys when he’s out on the court. But it’s not just what he does on the court.

How much is charisma worth? Somewhere north of $4.7 million per game, but that’s not the point. The Sixers’ whole squad feeds off Embiid’s energy. And the scary thing? He might not even be Philadelphia’s best player.

Ben Simmons is everything he’s advertised to be and more. He scored 18 points and grabbed 10 boards in his NBA regular season debut.

He’s listed at 6’10 but that’s smoke and mirrors; the guy might just be seven feet tall. He’ll be a treat to watch all season, especially when he’s out on the court with Embiid and fellow rookie number one overall pick Markelle Fultz, who’s adjusting to life in the NBA just fine:

Despite all the positives Philadelphia can take away from this game, they didn’t take home the win.

Wizards point guard John Wall hasn’t lost a step. He’s still the fastest guy in the league, but he seems bigger. He doesn’t avoid contact, he seeks it out. LeBron James does that. John Wall isn’t supposed to do that.

He’s an elite player in the NBA, even on a 6-for-17 shooting night. When his jumper is falling, there’s not a better point guard in the league. The fire he played with, even on a poor shooting night, would seem to indicate that Game 6 John Wall is here to stay.

The game’s signature moment came on a savage put-back dunk from Kelly Oubre in the fourth quarter:

On the Wizards’ very next possession, John Wall nearly blew the lid off the joint when he flushed a fast-break alley-oop:

Philadelphia clawed its its way back within one possession, but callously turned the ball over twice in the game’s waning seconds to spoil their own coming out party.

The Wizards and 76ers are two of the most exciting teams in the league. Neither is good enough to beat Cleveland, but there will come a day when King James no longer reigns over the East, and when that day comes, both of these teams have a shot at being top dog in the conference.

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