The Philadelphia 76ers have gotten the better of the Washington Wizards so far in their first-round playoff series. The number one seed 76ers lead 2-0 in the series. Philadelphia takes their 2-0 series lead to Washington behind the great play of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons. Wizards’ All-Star guard Bradley Beal has also been playing well, scoring 33 points in each of the first two games.
During game one, 76ers’ second-year guard Matisse Thybulle guarded Beal one-on-one. Thybulle played tight defense on Beal, and the 11,000 fans at Wells Fargo Center loved it. The passionate Sixer fans wanted to see Thybulle lock up the second-leading scorer in the NBA this season. Thybulle played excellent defense, but in this case, excellent offense beat excellent defense. Beal beat Thybulle and drove to the basket, and scored a layup.
After scoring the basket, Beal mocked the Philly crowd implying Thybulle couldn’t guard him.
Following Tuesday’s practice before game two, Beal spoke with members of the media via Zoom. When asked about Thybulle, he had positive things to say about the second-year guard.
“He’s very similar to Ben (Simmons), he’s tall, has long arms, he’s physical and a willing defender. I think that’s what separates a lot of guys in the league. He takes pride in defending. He doesn’t care about what happens on offense, if he’s involved, or gets shots. His job is to keep me from doing what I do, and I respect that.”Bradley Beal on Matisse Thybulle’s defense
That is high praise coming from Beal, as Ben Simmons is arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA. Simmons can guard all five positions and is in the running for defensive player of the year. Beal also said it’s a good sign he’s such a willing defender, and his trajectory can only go up. This will not be the last time these two players match up in the series.
As the series now shifts to Washington, it would not be surprising if Thybulle is in the game down the stretch guarding Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons guarding Beal, or vice versa. Beal and Westbrook will have to come out and have high-scoring games, or the Wizards may not make it back to Philadelphia for game five.