In the first game of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Washington Wizards 113-107. Joel Embiid was fantastic, going for 29 points and 14 rebounds. Shake Milton was excellent as well, playing just under 30 minutes off the bench, scoring 19 points and recording a plus-33.
Tobias Harris was bad. In 31 minutes, he had 10 points and 8 rebounds, shooting 3-for-13 from the field and 0-for-4 from 3. Danny Green struggled too, scoring just 2 points and posting a minus-27 in only 18 minutes.
Tyrese Maxey was a ton of fun during the minutes he got, and Dwight Howard looks like the best backup center the Sixers have had during Joel Embiid’s career. Matisse Thybulle was not part of the rotation, only getting minutes at the end of the game when the team went offense-defense.
For the Wizards, Russell Westbrook had a triple double, Bradley Beal had 31 points, and Davis Bertans hit four 3s, including three in a row in the second quarter that started a huge Washington run.
The Sixers ended the second quarter poorly, and they played disastrously in the third, finding themselves down ten entering the fourth. But Joel Embiid stepped up big in the fourth quarter, and the Sixers outscored the Wizards 40-24 in the final period. Ben Simmons played great defensively, and he had two big baskets down the stretch, but in the closing minutes, it was Shake Milton who was initiating offense in the half court.
It wasn’t pretty for much of the game, which is to be expected with two new starters and a new coach, but the Sixers played well when it mattered most, and they were able to pull out their first win of the season. Hopefully we see much more of that fourth quarter Sixers team going forward.