The Sixers got absolutely smacked in their matinee game against the Washington Wizards yesterday, losing 117-98 in a game they were trailing virtually the entire time
You could tell this one had the chance to be ugly right from the jump, when the Sixers started the game with a pair of bad miscommunications on defense in the first 90 seconds of play. They weren't crisp at all. There just wasn't a whole lot of purpose to what they were doing out there.
On top of that, their perimeter shots weren't falling, and Embiid's defense was a step slow in a way that we're not used to seeing. The Wizards shot 17/22 at the rim yesterday, per CleaningTheGlass, and many of them were looks that Embiid usually deters more effectively than he did on Monday. When the defensive anchor isn't effective, the game has a way of drifting away from you.
The Sixers have the 3rd ranked defense in the league over their last 12 games, even with yesterday's debacle. I think there's every reason to believe that they're not capable of playing at that level defensively over the long haul, and think they're probably closer to their season rank (12th) than one of the best defensive squads in the game. That's especially true when you start worrying about how they match up against the teams they'll have to beat if they want to make a deep run in the postseason.
But I don't think yesterday was an example of those weaknesses as much as it just was an off night from a team that was on a pretty good run of late. Given how they looked against Boston and especially in Miami, I think yesterday's butt whooping was a game that you just kind of throw out the tape and move on from.