Sixers Drop Heartbreaker Against Beal-less Wizards

NBA: MAR 01 76ers at Clippers
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Tobias Harris (12) looks on during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Wednesday night, the Sixers hosted the slumping Washington Wizards. Both teams were forced to overcome thinned perimeter depth without Bradley Beal (wrist), Seth Curry (back), Furkan Korkmaz (knee), and Shake Milton (back). Furthermore, Washington center Thomas Bryant (ankle) was inactive.

Joel Embiid tallied 27 points (11/27 FG, 0/3 3P, 5/8 FT), 14 rebounds, 6 assists, along with one steal and one block in 35 minutes. Tyrese Maxey added 22 points (9/16 FG, 2/4 3P, 2/2 FT), 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and one steal in 37 minutes. Also, Tobias Harris contributed with 18 points (7/17 FG, 1/2 3P, 3/3 FT), 9 rebounds, and 3 assists in 41 minutes. Washington was led by Kyle Kuzma, who scored 24 points (10/19 FG, 4/6 3P), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, one steal, and three blocks in 35 minutes. Wizards’ point guard Spencer Dinwiddie racked up 14 points (4/16 FG, 1/3 3P, 5/6 FT), 12 rebounds, and 10 assists in 29 minutes.

The current MVP-favorite, Embiid, was challenged effectively in the opening quarter. His early struggles hampered the team’s offense. As a result, Washington leaped out to a 29-28 lead through twelve minutes. The scoring presence of Maxey and Harris minimized the initial deficit, as the duo combined to score 20 of the Sixers’ 28 first-quarter points.

The visiting Wizards started the second stanza on a 19-9 run. As is routine, this run was quickly answered by a brief Embiid takeover, which kept the game tightly contested. Ultimately, Washington outscored the Sixers 30-26 in the quarter and expanded their lead to 59-54 at halftime. The Wizards’ offense was led by Kuzma’s 17 first-half points (7/12 FG, 3/4 3P). Meanwhile, the Sixers were beneficiaries of Rising Star Maxey’s first-half production of 14 points (6/9 FG, 2/2 3P), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and one steal.

After a 10-2 run to start the second half, the Sixers took a 64-61 lead. During that outburst, Embiid scored 8 points, including a series of powerful finishes. In a quarter significantly compiled with lead changes, Doc Rivers‘ squad managed to outscore the Wizards 25-22. However, through three quarters, Washington narrowly held an 81-79 advantage.

Upon Embiid’s return to the game midway through the fourth quarter, the Sixers went on an 8-0 run. A Georges Niang corner-three gave the team a momentary five-point lead. The teams continued to battle into the final minute of the game, where Washington took a 102-98 lead. After an Embiid paint jumper and a chaotic sequence of panic, the Sixers found themselves behind 102-100 with six seconds remaining, without possession.

Following a pair of successful free throws from rookie Corey Kispert, the Washington victory was five seconds away from reality. Remarkably, Danny Green knocked down a triple with 1.6 seconds remaining to pull within one point, 104-103. After another successful trip to the free-throw line, the Sixers were down 106-103 with 0.8 seconds in regulation. That score was finalized after a desperation heave at the horn. Washington outscored Philly 25-24 in the final frame to pull out the gritty win.

Next, the 31-20 Sixers will be in Dallas for a Friday, February 4th matchup with Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. The game is set to tip-off at 10:00 pm EST and can be followed on ESPNNBC Sports Philly, and 97.5 The Fanatic. For additional Philadelphia sports coverage, including Sixers content, visit PhillySportsNetwork.com!

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