WASHINGTON -- There was the first quarter in which the Sixers jumped out to a 13-point lead over the Wizards and Jahlil Okafor hit the ground running in the starting lineup … and then there was the rest of the game.
The Wizards, powered by their dominating backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal, erased the Sixers' lead by halftime and wasted no time in the third taking back control. They outscored the Sixers 53-37 in the second half for a 109-93 win Saturday night at the Verizon Center.
Okafor - starting in place of Joel Embiid (rest) - scored 16 points in as many minutes in the first half, his first game after four straight DNPs. He finished with 26 points (10 for 16 from the field, 6 for 11 from the line) and nine rebounds in 35 minutes. The big man showcased his offensive skills (his strong suit), but struggled defensively as the Wizards scored 54 points in the paint and Marcin Gortat recorded a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Wall, who is battling a jammed right pinky finger and sore left wrist, scored 25 points (9 for 17 from the field), including 11 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in the third. Beal finished with 20 points (8 for 15 from the field) and four rebounds.
Neither Wall, Beal, nor Gortat played in the fourth quarter.
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Inside the stats
• Nerlens Noel grabbed 12 rebounds and scored six points in 13 minutes.
• Ersan Ilyasova scored 18 points (all in the first half) with seven rebounds.
• Gortat's double-double was his sixth straight against the Sixers, dating back to Feb. 5 of last season.
• The Sixers' starting backcourt of Nik Stauskas and T.J. McConnell combined for six points off 3 for 16 shooting (Stauskas 0 for 7 from three).
• Chasson Randle played in his first game of the season, recording his first career points with a three in the fourth quarter.
It happened again
The Sixers allowed a 7-0 run out of halftime for the second straight game. Unlike Friday's matchup in which the Hornets tied the score, the Wizards broke out and took over the game.
Wizards open the third on a 7-0 run to go up, 63-56. #dejavu https://t.co/PLL6xvpUCw— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoCSN) January 15, 2017
Noel suffered a left ankle sprain in the second quarter. He left the court to have his ankle re-taped and returned in the same quarter.
Brown supporting the fans
Over 300 Sixers fan traveled to the Verizon Center following pregame festivities, partially in thanks to a $2,000 contribition from Brett Brown, as reported by CSN's John Clark.
"We all appreciate it," Brown said. "You respect their passion. To assist and help them in some small way is my pleasure."
During the first quarter the animated crowd chanted the following from the balcony: ‘Trust the process,' ‘Da-ri-o,' ‘No-el No-el No-el No-el,' ‘M-V-P,' ‘Shirley Temples' and ‘Thank you Hinkie.'
The Sixers will travel to Milwaukee on Sunday for a Monday afternoon matchup against the Bucks.