Three thoughts about the Wizards’ 109-97 loss at Philadelphia:


After all of the Wizards’ talk about a focus on defense during the last two days of practice, they allowed the Sixers to make 10 of 14 shots (71.4 percent) in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia made eight of its final nine shots from the field. Evan Turner’s miss with 3:45 remaining was the only field goal attempt the Sixers didn’t convert over the game’s final 9:07. Washington had no answer for Jrue Holiday (26 points, 9 assists) or Lou Williams (26 points).


The defensive meltdown took all the steam out of a nearly errorless night for John Wall. The rookie point guard had his eighth double-double (18 points, 14 assists) of the season and an even more impressive solitary turnover on a charge when the game started getting out of reach in the final five minutes. His excellent distribution even made up for his shooting struggles (6-for-14), and Rashard Lewis (18 points on 7-for-11 shooting, 10 rebounds) had his best shooting night since arriving in Washington last month, but both efforts were lost in the lack of team defense. Even Kirk Hinrich (13 points) struggled in his new protective eyewear, making his first five shots but missing his last six as he struggled to keep up the Sixers guards, and he finished the game tied with Nick Young (21 points) with a team-worst +/- of minus-13.


The futility continues, and so do the injuries. Josh Howard sat out the second half with knee soreness, and his defensive presence was sorely missed. Lester Hudson was also out, not due to injury but due to being waived for the second time this season ahead of next week's guaranteed contract date. The Wizards (8-25) had started the day seemingly fully healthy, with a full roster and an eye toward what looked to be one of their most promising stretch of the season – six games against teams with losing records (nevermind for the moment, that nine of the 12 after that are against teams with winning records). But instead of showing any signs of turning the corner and finally ending their futile streak away from Verizon Center, Washington dropped to an incredible 0-17 on the road. Right now, JaVale McGee’s entry in the Slam Dunk Contest is a welcome diversion that can’t come soon enough.