With Embiid out, Wizards stave off elimination with dramatic win against 76ers
Russell Westbrook had a triple-double, Rui Hachimura scored 20 and hit big shots down the stretch, and Daniel Gafford showed the nation what had excited the Wizards about him since he came over mid-season in a trade from Chicago.
The Wizards did a lot of things right in Game 4, but this game may have been decided in the first quarter when Joel Embiid took a hard fall after a drive to the basket.
Embiid left the game and did not return, with the team saying it was due to right knee soreness. After the game coach Doc Rivers said Embiid will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine what is going on with the knee. With the 76ers up 3-0 in the series, the team was right not to push anything. The 76ers title dreams hinge on the health of Embiid; they need him to be right.
Credit to the Wizards, who took advantage and played their best defensive game of the series. The 76ers shot 41.7% overall, 31.6% from 3, and had an offensive rating of 104.6 (they had a 128.3 offensive rating through the first three games).
Washington picked up the 122-114 win to stave off elimination. The series is now 3-1 76ers and heads back to Philadelphia for Game 5 on Wednesday (shown on NBA TV). Embiid’s status for that game is unknown at this point.
It was a good night for long-suffering Wizards fans, except when one guy ran out of the stands onto the court, jumped up and touched the backboard, and was tackled by security as play was stopped. The fan has been banned from all future games at the Capital One Arena, and the owners of the arena are pursuing charges.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 27 points. Westbrook had a triple-double of 19 points, 21 rebounds, and 14 assists but shot 3-for-19 from the field. Hachimura had 20, including the dagger late on an assist from Beal.
It was a rough night for Ben Simmons, who was in foul trouble through much of the game (the referees called this one tight) and picked up his fifth with 9:20 to go, forcing Rivers to sit him for a stretch. Then in the final minutes was subjected to hack-a-Ben as Washington intentionally fouled him and forced Simmons to the line, he was 4-of-8 from the line in that stretch, 5-of-11 on the night.
Tobias Harris led the 76ers in scoring with 21 but shot 8-of-24 from the floor. Tyrese Maxey had 15 and George Hill 14 off the bench for the 76ers.
For the next 48 hours, the focus for the 76ers will be on Embiid’s right knee, which will impact Game 5 and potentially the East playoffs in total.