Tobias Harris set a career high in the playoffs with 37 points to help his East-seeded Sixers to the first point in their tie against the Washington Wizards with a 125-118 win worked until the last minute.
Harris scored 15 of his 28 first-half points in the second quarter to keep the Sixers in the game when the Wizards were at their best, who despite the accumulated fatigue in the play-in, reached the break with a 62-61 score. left everything open.
“I wanted to set the tone early on and just show who we are all year long,” Harris said after the win. “We know this playoff race is going to be as difficult as possible.”
Joel Embiid finished with 30 points and six rebounds, Seth Curry scored 15 and Danny Green and George Hill added 11 each for the 76ers, in which Ben Simmons scored just six points, missed many free throws in the final stretch that gave air to the Wizards, but he grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out 15 assists for Philadelphia, his career-best playoff record.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 33 points and 10 rebounds and Russell Westbrook was left without a triple-double this time: 16 points, 14 assists and five rebounds. Latvian Davis Bertans added 14 points and Rui Hachimura, Alex Len and Daniel Gafford each scored 12. Philadelphia will take the second game again this Wednesday.
Harris’ previous playoff record was 29 points on April 18, 2019 against Brooklyn. His performance was vital in preventing Washington from completing its reaction: The Wizards cut Philadelphia’s 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter to five going into the final minute. Simmons missed a pair of free throws with the Sixers five up and 43 seconds left, but Westbrook stepped over the line by millimeters with his shoe as he tried to grab a pass from Gafford and Washington spoiled a vital possession.