The 76ers take Game 5 and the series after pulling out a blowout win against the Washington Wizards despite being without star big man Joel Embiid. The star of the show was, without a doubt, Seth Curry, who decided to put the weight on his shoulders and carry the team through with his 30 point performance. The game plan without Joel Embiid was clear, space the floor and open driving lanes early, so later on, we can find easier driving opportunities and mid-range shots. On the other end of the floor, Westbrook and Beal caught fire early, showing mid-range shots and some ridiculous 3 point shots. Matisse was struggling to keep in front of Beal when coming off screens, and Simmons wouldn’t switch onto Beal, so it resulted in a lot of open layups. You could tell that the lack of rim protection was being exposed, but the 76ers refused to allow open 3’s. The scores were all tied at 29-29 after one term of play.
Quarter 2 started with some Tyrese Maxey dominance, playing aggressively by driving to the rim despite any presence being inside. His playmaking was also very good, picking up two quick assists and swinging the ball around the perimeter, helping the team find open looks. Defensive strategies featured a double team on Beal and picking off any passing, forcing plenty of turnovers, but the Wizards were still managing to make 3 point shots. Halftime and the 76ers lead the game 65-63.
The third quarter began with Seth Curry and Russell Westbrook exchanging mid-range buckets, but Curry also caught fire from 3, which lead to his scoring outburst. The defensive strategy seemed obvious, as Matisse and Danny Green were contesting 3’s at will, blocking shots or forcing misses. A couple of defensive stops turned into Ben Simmons’ transition points, swinging the momentum and getting the crowd up and involved. After three quarters, the 76ers have slowly pulled the lead to 103-94.
Fourth-quarter dominance commenced, absolutely clamping down on defense, forcing so many turnovers, going on offense to hit open 3’s and tough driving buckets, forcing Scott Brooks to call multiple timeouts. Russell Westbrook's open three resulted in a miss, leading to a Simmons bucket off a Tobias Harris assist, then drawing a charge and getting another bucket. The sense was game over. Tobias Harris guaranteed this, with a midrange bucket to put us up 21 points and secure the final win of the series. Now onto Atlanta, as we take on Trae Young and the Hawks. A series preview will be published soon on the Insider Media website, so stay tuned on the website or my Instagram, @sixers__insider.