WASHINGTON — The inevitable seemed imminent soon after the Washington Wizards saw a 16-point lead cut down to one against a team who had not lost in over three weeks, and with Washington’s star player leaving the game injured and not playing in the game’s most critical point.
As has been said famously many times before, “That’s why they play the games!”
Kristaps Porzingis scored 24 points while Bradley Beal, despite missing the last 4:19 of the contest, chipped in with 19 points as the Wizards defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 116-111 inside Capital One Arena on Tuesday night. Rui Hachimura added 14 points off the bench as each of the five reserves who played for Washington recorded at least seven points, picking up the slack in Beal’s absence to give the Wizards their third win in their last four contests.
Joel Embiid, the NBA’s leading scorer, scored 48 points while James Harden added 26 points and 13 assists in a losing cause for the Sixers.
“I think guys have bought in to trying to get ourselves back on track and winning games,” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld said.
Washington opened an 11-point lead at halftime and, after Tobias Harris scored on a layup on the Sixers’ first possession, the Wizards went on a 7-0 run to open their largest lead at 74-58 after a Porzingis three-pointer at 9:15 remaining in the third. The lead was 15, at 83-68, midway through the third before the 76ers went on a 13-2 run, capped off by a De’Anthony Melton three, to close within four at 85-81.
Beal left the game with 4:19 remaining the the game after colliding with Embiid and reaching for his left hamstring. (The official diagnosis was left hamstring soreness.) Philadelphia eventually closed the gap to one, on an alley-oop dunk by Embiid from a Harden pass, but then Porzingis hit the biggest shot of the game, a three from the left wing that opened the lead back up to four.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday 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 34 pictures in total.