I’d be lying to you if I said that I didn’t pre-write a couple paragraphs along the lines of saying that “the Washington Wizards lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in a four-game sweep.”
Somehow, someway, this team knows how to make me stop the presses and eat crow. I’ll gladly eat it tonight.
WOW! What a game! And what a win!
The Wizards won 122-114 against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night in Game 4 of their first round NBA Playoffs series. Let me repeat: the Wizards won Game 4 tonight!
Like the last two games of this series, Washington started off the game by giving up another double-digit lead to the Sixers, but they kept things close and even had a 60 to 58 lead for a brief time before a late Philadelphia three gave them a 61 to 60 lead at halftime.
One of the reasons why Washington kept it close? An injury, but it was the break they needed.
Joel Embiid left the game early after playing just 11 minutes in the first half due to knee soreness. While no one wants to see injuries, the Wizards were simply outmatched and didn’t have the size to matchup with him, whether it was Robin Lopez, Alex Len or Daniel Gafford at the five.
Still, Embiid’s absence gave Washington an opportunity, and they took advantage of it.
The Wizards made the most out of their third quarter, outscoring Philadelphia 32 to 19 and they made all three of their three-point attempts. That said, Davis Bertans, who started the game and scored 12 of his 15 points in the first quarter, suffered a calf strain and missed the rest of the game.
And that got us to the fourth quarter. As you might have expected, the Sixers made a comeback and even tied it at some points. However, the Wizards were able to make key shots to stay ahead, and even employ some Hack-a-Ben Simmons, since he only shot about 60 percent of his free throws this season. He missed a lot of those shots, but not enough to give fans a Chick-fil-A sandwich tomorrow.
The game was close in the final minutes, but Rui Hachimura scored five straight points in the last minute and a half of the game to put this one away.
Russell Westbrook had a gritty triple-double (19 points, 21 rebounds (!!!!!!), 14 assists) despite a rough 3-of-19 shooting performance and Bradley Beal scored 27 points to lead Washington. Daniel Gafford got the start at center tonight and didn’t disappoint, scoring 12 points and blocking 5 shots. Robin Lopez and Raul Neto scored 16 and 11 points respectively.
And last but not least, Hachimura had a double-double of his own with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
For the 76ers, Tobias Harris led with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Simmons had 13 points and 12 rebounds, but shot just 5-of-11 from the free throw line.
Wow. I’m impressed with this win. No one would have blamed the Wizards for losing tonight, even after Philly made their fourth quarter run. But thanks to this team’s grit, they pulled it off!
Game 5 will be this Wednesday, June 5 in Philadelphia. Tip-off is to be determined. See you then!