The absence of the Cameroonian pivot Joel embiid did not prevent Philadelphia Sixers beat this Wednesday 129-112 at Washington Wizards in the fifth game of the best seven in the first round of the Eastern Conference ‘playoffs’ that closed 4-1.
The Sixers, who finished the league with the best record in the Eastern Conference, have returned to the semifinals a year after being eliminated in the first round when they were swept 4-0 by the Boston Celtics in the Orlando bubble.
The Sixers’ rival in the semifinals will be the Atlanta Hawks, this Wednesday in the fifth game of their tie against the New York Knicks they won 89-103 on the road and also won the best-of-seven series 4-1.
A duel that they hope to also have Embiid, his franchise player, who was in the pre-game warm-ups, although he has discomfort in the meniscus.
He threw jump shots around the perimeter, walks away, even a few free throws, all without any visible knee brace underneath his white leggings, and put on a show that proved his absence might not last beyond the game against the Los Angeles. Wizards.
Without Embiid, injured in the fourth game, who suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee, the shooting guard Seth curry emerged with his best scoring inspiration and led the Sixers attack by getting 30 points after scoring 10 of 17 shots from the field, including 3 of 6 3-point attempts and 7-7 from the personnel line.
Curry he set his best mark as a professional in the playoffs by surpassing the previous 22 he had achieved and became the winning factor of surprise.
The eaves Tobias Harris he reached 28 points as the second highest scorer, in addition to capturing nine rebounds, distributing six assists, recovering three balls and putting a stopper in another decisive individual effort.
As was also the triple-double that the Australian point guard contributed Ben simmons who achieved with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and had two blocks.
But in addition, the Sixers reserves did not want to be left out of the limelight in the victory and contributed 39 points, led by the great work done by the veteran All-Star center. Dwight howard who came close to double-double after scoring 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
The rookie point guard Tyrese maxey He responded with another 13 goals, six rebounds, two assists and a ball recovery.
The Wizards, in their line of relying on the game of guard Bradley Beal and the point guard Russell westbrookThey could only hold the rhythm until the break, then everything was the domain of the Sixers who will seek their first NBA title since 1983 when the legendary Moses Malone and Julius Erving were on the team.
With the best public entrance allowed this season in the Wells Fargo Center (there were 15,523 people), the Sixers they bucked off a slow start and had their pivotal moment late in the first half when Simmons assisted Harris for a 3-pointer that gave them the first lead of the night.
Simmons, unconditionally defended by the Sixers coach, Doc RiversAfter a series of missed free throws in Game 4, he held his ground from the line when the Wizards tried to foul him again.
He also did what he does best, create plays and make his rim attacks look silky smooth. He even hit 5 of 8 from the free throw line.
Simmons, who missed 15 of 20 free throws in the first four games, committed the third foul of Westbrook in the third period. Westbrook complained to the umpires all night and committed four fouls in the three quarters.
Beal he finished as the leader of the Wizards with 32 points, including the 10 he achieved from the personnel line (10-10), he also captured seven rebounds and distributed five assists, which were not enough to avoid defeat.
Nor does double-double Westbrook of 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, because the rest of the team did not respond in the same way to the scoring inspiration of the Sixers and his great defensive dominance game within the paint.
The Brazilian point guard Raúl Neto He returned to the title with the Wizards and completed a good job by contributing eight points in the 30 minutes he was on the track at the Wells Fargo Center. Neto made 3 of 6 shots from the field, including 2 of 3 triples, gave three assists and recovered a ball.
But the night and the celebration was for the Sixers fans, chanting “We want Brooklyn!” when it came to the end of the game, assuming they are going to beat the Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets knock out the Milwaukee bucks in the other semi-final of the Eastern Conference that will begin this weekend.