There was a thought that, despite their struggles, the Washington Wizards would give the 76ers stiff competition.
A lot of that had to with the Wizards' All-Star backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, combined with the Sixers' knack for getting shredded by opposing guards. But Beal and Wall weren't factors on Friday, as the Sixers prevailed, 123-98, at the Wells Fargo Center.
The victory improved the Sixers to 16-8.while extending their winning streak to three games. It was also the Sixers' seventh win in eight games and improved them to 12-1 at home. Meanwhile, the Wizards (8-14) dropped to 2-9 on the road.
Washington has been a team dealing with controversy and reports of players wanting to be traded. Well, they looked the part of squad that doesn't get along on this night.
There was very little ball movement as the Wizards looked to get their own shots. Most of their communication was not amongst themselves, but complaints to the referees.
Wall even received a technical foul for arguing a call. He's had an ongoing issue with the refs this season.
"I have nothing to say to them," Wall said of the refs. "I have no respect for them. Simple as that. I get the same excuse every time … I don't get those calls. I have no respect for them … I have nothing nice to say towards them."
>> PHOTO GALLERY: Sixers 123, Wizards 98
Meanwhile, Wall had his worst shooting performance of the season. The five-time All-Star point guard made just four of 15 shots to finish with 11 points. He also had seven assists, three rebounds, three steals and two turnovers in 25 minutes, 23 seconds.
"He just missed shots," the Sixers' Jimmy Butler said. "I think John is an incredible player, as everybody in this room, everybody in the world knows. But you have off nights.
"I think we did what we wanted to do defensively and make him take contested shots at the rim, contesting on twos all of that good stuff. But all in all, man, players have off nights."
Beal, a one-time All-Star, was better, finishing with 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting in 19:21. With the game out of hand, the two standouts sat out the fourth quarter.
The Sixers also rested their starters in the final quarter. But the breathers and defensive effort on the Wizards' guard, particularly Wall, took a backseat to Ben Simmons and Butler wearing white headbands.
"I love it," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "They are defensive brothers. There are blood brothers. That band to me signifies they are bonding, a defensive bonding."
Brown asked Butler to put Simmons under his wing after they acquired Butler in a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 12. Brown wanted Butler to help Simmons be all he can be defensively. The second-year point guard played solid off-ball defense on this night and was the Sixers post-game bell ringer.
Simmons said that he's been wearing headbands at practice. Butler told Simmons he would wear a headbands in Friday's if Simmons wore one.
He had a solid game in the new look, making all five of his shot attempts and go 3-for-3 from the foul line. Simmons had 13 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season. His lone blemish was six turnovers in 25:26 of action.
He was asked if the headband is going to stick doing to not missing a shot in one.
"Maybe," he said. "I might switch it up. It depends. I always wanted to wear a headband in the NBA."
Said Butler: "I think headbands are in right now. So we will ride the wave."
Joel Embiid also recorded a double-double.
Embiid finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks for his league-leading 22nd double-double of the season. He secured that double-double 2:55 into the second quarter, grabbing his 10th rebound shortly after scoring his 10th points.
The Sixers had eight double-figure scorers in a game that was all but decided at intermission.
Like in Wednesday's against the New York Knicks, the Sixers jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter. Embiid's foul shot with 49.5 seconds left in the quarter gave them a 31-16 cushion.
The Sixers extended their lead to 22 points (63-41) following Furkan Korkmaz's three-pointer with 1:01 left in the half. They pushed their lead up to 35 on Amir Johnson's layup with 8:25 left.
Markelle Fultz to see more specialists, continue to miss time
Markelle Fultz will continue to see specialists into early next week. The reserve guard flew to St. Louis on Friday to meet with a doctor.
On Nov. 20, the agent, Raymond Brothers, told the 76ers that Fultz would not practice or play until he saw a shoulder specialist to address the lingering injury issue. Brothers originally said that Fultz would see a specialist on Monday in New York. Then the agent said Fultz would see multiple specialists in the early part of the week. Now, Brothers added that Fultz will see even more specialists next week
"We will provide further information on Markelle Fultz, not today," head coach Brett Brown said. "I don't know what the club has put out in relation to when we will actually give more information. But I know that he is seeing people.
"I know there is still stuff going on where we are trying to learn more."
Fultz played in 19 games this season with 15 starts. Friday night's game against the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center marked the fifth straight game he has missed.
The first overall pick of the 2017 draft, Fultz is averaging 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists and is shooting 28.6 percent on three-pointers.
Sources have long said that his shooting woes were more mental than physical, something that Fultz has not confirmed. His agent's decision to see a specialist came one day after Brown chose to play T.J. McConnell as the backup point guard in the second half against the Phoenix Suns instead of Fultz.
"We look forward to getting him back in here," Brown said, "and getting him with his teammates and continuing to help move him forward."
The Wizards are without center Dwight Howard, who had surgery on Friday in California to alleviate pain from a gluteal injury. The injury has limited him to playing in just nine of Washington's 22 games.