Tonight, the Sixers defeated the Washington Wizards 129-112 in game 5 of the first round. The Sixers’ fourth victory to the Wizards’ one, Washington was sent packing as the Sixers advance.
Overall, this was an extremely impressive bounce-back game from a number of key Sixers. Joel Embiid, of course, missed the matchup due to the torn meniscus which the team says will be manageable and gave the center a day-to-day designation.
In his stead, head coach Doc Rivers opted to start Matisse Thybulle, sliding Ben Simmons down to center. It was sound logic: if Simmons was going to guard the opposing team’s center, elevating a defensive talent like Thybulle to take on the Bradley Beal assignment made good sense. The Simmons-at-center lineups had spotty results, as the Wizards got the rim a ton in the first quarter. But those results leveled out over the course of the game and provided some encouraging minutes overall.
The Sixers prevailed and ran away from Washington by holding the visitors to only 18 fourth quarter points.
Simmons rebounded from a poor performance in game 4 in a big way. The star tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, one steal and 2 blocks. He played great defense and went 7/11 from the field and 5/8 from the free throw line. He was a game-high +17.
Tobias Harris also played great after struggling in game 4, totaling 28 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and a block. He went 9/17 from the field and made 8 of his 10 free throws.
Seth Curry was tremendous and really provided a much-needed scoring punch for the Sixers in the first half. He set a new playoff-career-high with 30 points on 10/17 shooting.
Off the bench, Tyrese Maxey continued to cement his place in the rotation and in the hearts of fans across the Delaware Valley, scoring 13 points in 26 minutes.
Dwight Howard had his best game of the series by far, with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in his 16 minutes. He converted 8 of his 10 free throws.
The Wells Fargo Center crowd was electric.
Next, the Sixers face Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks.
Bring ‘em on.