76ers fall to Wizards 122-114, series lead cut to 3-1
Relax, the sky isn’t falling. The Philadelphia 76ers fell late to the Washington Wizards in a 120-114 loss tonight, cutting their series lead to 3-1. Everything went the wrong way for the 76ers tonight, starting with Joel Embiid. Joel left early after what looked to be a back injury but was diagnosed with right knee soreness. Without Joel, the Sixers lost morale and all desire to compete until late in the game.
Ben Simmons killed the Sixers’ hopes late in this game. He has been tremendous this series but has been brutal from the free-throw line. Late in the fourth, the 76ers clawed back into the game only for Washington to implement the hack-a-Ben strategy. Ben finished the night 5/11 from the line, but those six misses were all Washington needed. This issue absolutely needs to be fixed before going into the second round. It also pains me to say this, but the talking heads were finally right for once.
For the rest of the Sixers, Tobias Harris made a complete 180 from his dominant earlier showings. Tonight he was an abysmal 8/24 from the field with four fouls. Tyrese Maxey and Furkan Korkmaz helped will the Sixers back into this game with a combined 23 points off the bench. Seth Curry looked to reaggravate his ankle injury late, so hopefully, he will be good for game five.
The referees were horrendous and were another reason the Sixers weren’t able to close this game. I’m convinced Washington or Adam Silver has paid them off with the stripes calling 30 fouls on the 76ers tonight, including several non-fouls that put Ben Simmons in foul trouble. For Washington, Rui Hachimura led the charge with 20 points and 13 rebounds on 8/12 shooting.
The 76ers will return to a full-capacity Wells Fargo Center for game five on Wednesday night. Hopefully, Joel Embiid and Seth Curry will be fully healthy, with the Sixers needing to close this series out as quickly as possible to get some extra rest. If the Sixers are good to go, this game shouldn’t be a challenge, especially in front of their home crowd.
Mandatory Credit: Nick Wass AP Photo