WASHINGTON - The 76ers came to Washington for two things. They wanted to pay tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They also hoped to beat the Washington Wizards.
The Sixers had to settle for honoring the civil rights leader on his holiday. The Wizards took their third lead with 7 minutes, 22 seconds left in the first quarter and never surrendered it. Washington held on for a 107-99 victory at the Verizon Center.
"You feel like you are . . . just small things away from really stealing a win or making it a winnable game with 30 seconds left," Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
The Sixers (13-28) pulled within eight points with 1:42 left after trailing by as many as 21. But they eventually lost their third straight game and seventh in their last eight because of their continued three-point and foul-shooting struggles.
They made just 4 of 18 three-pointers (22.2 percent) and are a combined 8 of 57 in their last three games. They made only 21 of 31 (67.7 percent) from the foul line and are at 63 percent on free throws during the losing streak.
On the bright side for the Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams broke out of his two-game shooting slump. The rookie point guard scored a game-high 31 points on 13-for-22 shooting. He also had five assists and a game-high three steals in 34 minutes. Carter-Williams made 6 of 29 shots combined in consecutive losses to the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.
"I was just trying to make plays," the 22-year-old said. "I was just trying to do anything for us to try to stay in the game and try to make a late comeback. I tried to find my teammates out there, be patient, and that just led to some open looks."
Bradley Beal (22 points) and Marcin Gortat (19 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocked shots) led the Wizards. Spencer Hawes collected 11 points and 16 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season for the Sixers.
With the absence of Tony Wroten (sprained right ankle), Evan Turner was the Sixers' backup point guard. The swingman was not a factor, making just 3 of 10 shots and scoring 11 points. He had one assist and two turnovers.
But this trip was about more than basketball.
The Sixers flew to D.C. after Saturday night's loss at Chicago. On Sunday, the team spent an hour at the King memorial. The Sixers honored the civil rights icon in other ways on Monday.
Both teams wore warm-ups with a "Dream Big" logo on the front to honor King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen, Elliot Williams, Hawes, Carter-Williams, and several Wizards wore purple sneakers with gold trim with "BHM" on the back in honor of King and Black History Month, which is February.
"This day means a lot," Young said. "He fought for our civil rights and equality and to end separation for all the different races. . . . You can look and see each and every move. You have white people and black. He has us all working together."