The Road to the Finals: 76ers host the Washington Wizards in Game One of the 2021 NBA Playoffs
It has been 20 years since the Philadelphia 76ers entered the playoffs as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. The road to the NBA Finals begins today at 1:00pm against the eighth seeded Washington Wizards. In what has been years in the making, the Sixers enter today atop of the East with Joel Embiid as an MVP finalist and Ben Simmons as a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year.
Not too long ago, we watched four years of Sixers basketball where the team and organization as a whole told us that their only goal was to lose games. The Process brought us here. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are about to enter their fourth year in the playoffs. The Sixers went three seed, three seed, sixth seed, and now first seed in those years.
This year is different. The Sixers have strong veteran leadership and a new coaching staff that has held this team accountable throughout the entire regular season. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have progressed their games to new levels all year and I fully expect to see them kick it up a notch in the playoffs. The title run is officially on and the Sixers have a legitimate shot to bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy when it’s all said and done.
If you watched the video above and resisted running through a brick wall, let’s talk about the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards got their spot in the playoffs as the eighth seed after defeating the Indiana Pacers in the playoff tournament. They were 34-38 in the regular season.
76ers vs Wizards Regular Season
During the regular season, the Sixers were 3-0 against the Washington Wizards and proved to be a matchup nightmare for the team in D.C.. Sixers won their home opener 113-107. The Sixers won 141-136 in game two. Bradley Beal scored 60 points in the Wizards loss. The third game, the Sixers were without Ben Simmons and defeated the Wizards 127-101.
Washington played great down the stretch in the regular season. However, they heavily rely on just two players to define their success in Beal and Westbrook. For an eighth seed that finished the regular season 34-38, the Wizards will certainly have their hands full in the first round against a well rested, healthy Philadelphia 76ers team.
76ers Injury Report
The current injury report is clean for both teams, meaning all players that are expected to play. Matisse Thybulle is back for the Sixers after a stretch of games missed to finish the season. The normal starting five will be leading this team throughout the playoffs, with a 27-5 record on the season when they all start together.
We talk about X-Factors all throughout the season, and of course, the Sixers need Ben Simmons to be aggressive throughout their entire run this playoffs. Doc Rivers and the Sixers’ coaching staff need to be sharp in their decision making. The Sixers need to feed Joel Embiid the ball relentlessly against a Wizards team that has literally no one who can stop him. Defensively, Ben Simmons, Danny Green, and Matisse Thybulle need to limit the damage from Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook.
It’s the first round of the playoffs. The Sixers are a one seed. The Wizards are an eighth seed. It’s time go out there and handle business. Philadelphia has made it. The process years are over, but the Process himself has never looked better. There will be roughly 10,000 fans at the Wells Fargo Center this afternoon with more fans coming in the second round.
This is a special Sixers team. How special is still yet to be determined. The road to the NBA Finals starts today.
Sixers in 4. Take it to my grave, bet the house on it.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia 76ers