76ers Take Game 1 Versus Wizards
One down, three to go.
The 76ers topped the Washington Wizards, 125-118, in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series opener, fueled by dominant performances from their big three.
In a game that featured 10 lead changes and 13 ties, the Sixers went into halftime down one, 62-61, but a big third quarter made the difference.
Tobias Harris led the way, pouring in 28 points in the first half alone (12-19 FG), and finishing with a career-playoff high 37 points. He also added six rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Joel Embiid showed what makes him an MVP finalist, posting with 30 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a block. After three early fouls, Embiid found rhythm in the second half, scoring 21 of his 30 after the break.
Embiid shot 9-for-16 from the field and 12-for-13 from the stripe, and generated a game-high +20.
Ben Simmons notched a 15-rebound, 15-assist double-double, plus six points, a steal, and a block.
Rivers praised Simmons’ two-way performance postgame:
“I thought he was special tonight. Whoever he guarded struggled scoring. He’s a treasure. He’s something that you don’t see a lot in this league. All I see is greatness in him.”
Bradley Beal led the way for Washington, finishing with 33 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and a steal. Russell Westbrook notched a 16-point, 14-assist double-double.
Opening the third quarter down one, the Wizards held a five5-point lead (their largest of the game) early in the third period. But the Sixers’ defense rose, creating some major stops leading to major buckets in response.
The Sixers out-scored Washington in the third frame, 38-31, largely thanks to 55.6% (5-9 3PT) shooting from deep, and 61.9% (13-21 FG) shooting from the field.
Curry hit a trio of threes in the third quarter alone, while Harris and Green each made their lone 3-point attempt in the frame.
Curry totalled 15 points (all in the second half), plus four rebounds, an assist, and two steals. He shot 6-for-13 from the field in his 32 minutes of play. His 3-pointer at 88-81 capped a 16-4 Sixers' run, which proved decisive.
Green hit four of his six field goal attempts, finishing with 11 points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block. He hit converted on three of his four attempts from long range.
Hill came in hot, scoring five quick points in his first minute, finishing with a bench-high 11 points, two rebounds, and two assists. Hill shot 5-for-8 from the field in his 17 minutes.
Rivers praised Hill for his veteran leadership postgame:
“He has a great voice. He settles the second unit down.”
Thybulle played a key role in the team’s third quarter swing, helping slow Beal, and finishing with two steals and two blocks in 14 minutes. One of his blocks and both of his steals came in the third period.
Simmons gave Thybulle props postgame:
“He did a great job on [Beal], just bugging him, annoying him.”
Quote to Note:
The Sixers fans showed up, big time.
Doc Rivers loved the @sixers' fans energy in the building today:
"I can't believe that was 10,000, 11,000... it felt like 30,000."
— Lauren Rosen (@LaurenMRosen) May 23, 2021
The Wizards had a solid offensive outing in Game 1, shooting 55.7% (49-88) from the field and 40.0% (8-20) from long range. Six Wizards finished in double-figures, as the team narrowly out-rebounded the Sixers, 41-40.
The Wizards gave up 16 turnovers (while the Sixers gave up 11).
The Sixers will host Game 2 Wednesday at The Center, before traveling to Washington for Games 3 and 4. Games 5 through 7 will alternate locations, beginning in South Philadelphia, as necessary.
Wednesday’s Game 2 tips at 7:00 p.m. ET.