Amir Johnson, who came off the bench with 6:56 left in the first quarter, started his time out with a muscled defensive battle against Marcin Gortat. Johnson gave Gortat little room to move and even less of a chance to catch up. Gortat was scoreless in the first. Johnson scored seven of his nine points in that opening quarter as part of a run that gave the Sixers a 21-point lead and helped give the Sixers enough space to withstand their faults in the second half.
The Sixers went on a 20-2 run in the opening quarter, closing out the first 12 minutes with a 37-20 lead. During that time, they were able to make quick fixes to their mistakes with tough defense. Despite having six turnovers in the first quarter, the Sixers only gave up four points from the miscues and held Washington scoreless in the fast break. They shot 69.6 percent from the field and held the Wizards to just four defensive rebounds.
Luckily the Sixers lead was enough, again, to sustain the fall. The Wizards approach was collective and methodical, not at all frantic. They slowly chipped away at the Sixers lead, coming within single digits, in large part because of Bradley Beal who finished with a game-high 30 points. The Sixers weren't able to maintain their shooting percentage, and there were multiple turnovers that were completely avoidable. But, in the Sixers defense, they didn't seem to panic under the pressure that Washington was creating.
Saric now has 31 consecutive games scoring in double digits. He finished with 20 points against the Wizards on 8-of-14 shooting. He is one of the Sixers most consistent players and can be counted on for more than his scoring. He isn't a player that comes to mind for great defense, but in tough moments he buckles down and holds his own. He is willing to sacrifice his body for the play and to chase down a loose ball and the Sixers' fan appreciate that.