DimeMag

Please Don’t Make The Wizards Play Another Game Against The Sixers

Game 3 of the Wizards-Sixers series went an awful lot like the second, as the Sixers continue to just overwhelm the East’s 8-seed with their size, defense, and shooting. The Sixers can seemingly get whatever they want on offense against the Wizards, which isn’t a huge surprise given how poor Washington was on the defensive end this season. Joel Embiid is dominating as he often does, Philly’s shooters keep finding themselves wide open for catch-and-shoot opportunities, and after a slow Game 1, Ben Simmons is carving his way to the rim to put additional pressure on Washington.

On the other end, the Wizards simply don’t have the firepower to keep up. Their Game 1 performance was admirable to stay close throughout, but even the best from Bradley Beal wasn’t enough to topple Philly. Now, with Beal ice cold from three-point range, Davis Bertans providing almost nothing, and Russell Westbrook putting up normal Russ numbers instead of the outrageous stats he was posting late in the season, there just isn’t anything keeping Washington in contact with Philly over the course of 48 minutes. The result in Game 3 was a 132-103 throttling from Philadelphia with Joel Embiid setting a new playoff career high with 36 points on 18 shots and all five Sixers starters reaching double figures while all playing 32 minutes or fewer.

This isn’t unusual in a 1-8 series, but the way this series and the Bucks-Heat sweep went, it has, for some, called into question the necessity of seven game series in the first round. There’s no way the NBA, its TV partners, and the owners would ever give back the extra games they get with 7-game sets, but I would like to put one idea into the ether for consideration: Create a 3-0 skunk rule for the sake of everyone involved.

No team has ever erased a 3-0 deficit to win a series and only three teams in any round have forced a Game 7 after going down 0-3 (once in the first round, Portland against Dallas in 2003). The upside to playing further are, mostly, the teams get an extra game of revenue, it’s another game for the TV partners, and, well, that’s pretty much it. There are few if any Wizards fans who want to see this series continue after the way the last two games went. There are probably a few Sixers fans who enjoy watching Embiid torture Washington who will be excited for Game 4, but I think even they would trade an extra day of rest and ensuring the health of all their stars for the honor of watching Embiid send Daniel Gafford into the dark dimension again. The ratings of Game 4s at 3-0 will almost always be rather abysmal, so you could even pitch the TV partners that it would help raise their overall ratings average for the postseason by giving them up, leaving the owners of the teams down 3-0 (almost always the road team in the series) as the chief losers in all of this as they forfeit a game’s worth of revenue to avoid the indignity of getting thwacked once again on national television.

That last point ensures the league will never go for such a thing, but we can dream of a day when we can just end a series we know is over. Teams already are aware of the history of teams down 0-2 who lose Game 3, and if the sense of urgency created by being in that scenario isn’t enough to push them over the top, then it’s time to put an end to it. Alas, the Sixers and Wizards will meet on Monday in Washington once again, with Philly just looking to put this away and stay healthy, while the Wizards will claw one more game’s revenue away from the faithful fans that make the trek to the arena for what will assuredly be the last home game of the season, win or lose.

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