The Washington Wizards dismantled the Indiana Pacers to clinch the No. 8 seed in the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs.
This victory set them up to face off against the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers.
While the Wizards have a lot of offensive firepower and Westbrook is playing some of the best basketball of his life, Washington will not be able to knock off the 76ers and there are three major reasons why.
3. Lack of a Supporting Cast
The first reason that the Wizards will not be able to defeat the 76ers is that the Wizards do not have much of a supporting cast.
Westbrook and Beal have been one of the best duos in the East this season.
Westbrook has turned back the clock and looked his his old self.
Along with this, Beal has continued to be one of the best offensive players in the NBA.
However, this is really where the game-changing talent on the team ends.
The Wizards have one of the oddest rosters in the NBA.
They are both one or two moves away from contention and a complete rebuild.
As a result, they do not have the firepower to take down a team like the 76ers.
If their front office was able to flip some of their younger players for more veterans or another star player, this would be a much better series.
However, with the Wizards being as short-handed as they are, they will be lucky to make this series competitive.
It has already been made clear that it will be a two-man show for the Wizards.
Despite having a horrendous Game 1, Westbrook was still the second leading scorer on the team.
State of the Wizards supporting cast pic.twitter.com/R1PyXFhQAC
— hayd (@RlCOCharges) May 9, 2021
2. Playoff Westbrook
The second reason as to why the Wizards will not defeat the 76ers is that they have playoff Westbrook on their roster.
Some players step their games up during the playoffs while others fold under the pressure.
Westbrook is more of the latter.
It does not seem that it is due to pressure that Westbrook regresses in the playoffs, however, he takes a clear step back each year in the postseason as he has aged.
Looking back to last season while he was a member of the Houston Rockets, Westbrook was considered by some to be doing more bad to his team than good.
He became a huge liability on offense.
Teams have learned that Westbrook is an awful jump-shooter and that leaving him open is their best option.
Westbrook has too much pride to turn down wide open jumpers and almost any guard in the league would be dumb to turn down the shots that are given to Westbrook.
However, he fails to convert on those shots time and time again.
This is something that the Los Angeles Lakers used to take out Westbrook and the Rockets last season.
It appears that the 76ers will be using that strategy again this season and in Game 1 it was successful.
Westbrook finished the game shooting an awful 7-17 from the field and 0-2 from three.
Westbrook could once again shoot his team out of the NBA playoffs.
Russell Westbrook against the Hornets vs. Russell Westbrook against the 76ers pic.twitter.com/TVKEZ1Ny2f
— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) May 24, 2021
1. No Answer For Joel Embiid
The final reason that the Wizards will not defeat the 76ers is that they do not have an answer for Joel Embiid.
Embiid had the best regular season of his career this season.
He was a strong MVP candidate and averaged 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.
He hopes to continue this domination in the playoffs and the Wizards would be a great team to begin a strong run against.
Big men are by far the biggest hole on the Wizards roster.
They really do not have anyone that can hang in the post with Embiid.
It was clear the Wizards had no answer for Embiid in Game 1.
He had 30 points on only 16 shots while shooting 56.3 percent from the field.
Along with this, the only way the Wizards could slow Embiid down was by fouling him.
He finished the game with 13 free throw attempts and this is a trend that could continue later on in the series.
As a result of these three reasons, the Wizards do not have what it takes to pull off a major upset against the 76ers.