WASHINGTON — Surely, the Philadelphia 76ers don’t want to play too many games without their MVP-caliber center, Joel Embiid. However, the Sixers definitely won’t mind the winning that has come despite his absence.
Tyrese Maxey scored 28 points while backcourt mate James Harden shined with a 23-point, 17-assist double-double as the 76ers defeated the Washington Wizards 118-111 inside Capital One Arena on Monday night. Six players scored in double figures for Philadelphia, who played its second game in its last three contests without Joel Embiid, who is dealing with a non-COVID-related illness.
Coming off a an impressive win on Saturday night in Chicago, one where Embiid played and scored 25 points, the Sixers turned a tight game early into a runaway against the Wizards. Washington was up 52-47 late in the second quarter when Tobias Harris converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:35 remaining in the half. Two possessions later, Maxey scored on a layup off a pass from Harden just before the halftime buzzer to tie the score at 52-52. Those five points were the first five scored in a 12-0 run spanning the second and third quarters.
Washington fought back to take the lead midway through the third, as a dunk from Bradley Beal gave Washington a 71-68 advantage with 5:08 remaining. Just like the second quarter, however, the 76ers closed out the third with a flourish, finishing the quarter on an 18-2 run. Harden’s layup with two seconds left in the quarter completed a 9-0 run to end the frame, giving the Sixers an 86-73 lead. Philadelphia held a lead of at least three possessions until the final minute, when a Kristaps Porzingis three-pointer cut the Sixers’ lead to 116-111 with 34 seconds remaining.
Porzingis led all scorers with 32 points, while Beal added 20 points for the Wizards, who have now lost three straight after a 3-1 start.
Philadelphia won for the second time in a four-day span with Embiid not on the floor, as it handily defeated the Raptors 112-90 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Friday. Maxey, who made his first 10 shots in that game, scored a career-high 44 points as Embiid sat out due to a sore right knee.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday evening’s game, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Rodney Pierce. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 31 pictures in total.