The Washington Wizards avoided an embarrassing sweep by upsetting the heavily favored Philadelphia 76ers on Monday. Bradley Beal led the way for the Wizards by pouring in 27 points. Russell Westbrook did not shoot the ball particularly well, but still posted yet another triple-double (19 points, 21 rebounds, 14 assists).
The biggest story of Game 4 was Sixers center Joel Embiid leaving the game early with a sore knee. Embiid took a hard fall after Robin Lopez blocked his shot near the baseline late in the first quarter (ESPN). The 7-foot big man will undergo an MRI and is currently listed as day to day.
Game 5 will start at 7:00PM EST tonight in Philly at the Wells Fargo Center. Oddsmakers seem to think Embiid will play as the Sixers have been installed as a seven point favorite. Here are three things for NBA fans to keep an eye on in Game 5.
Will Embiid Play?
The biggest question mark for the Sixers in Game 5 is the health of Embiid’s sore knee. If the MRI comes back clean, Philly fans are hoping that Embiid can play the majority of the game. However, if Embiid can’t go or is severely limited, who will step up to lead the Sixers?
Power forward Tobias Harris did a fine job in Game 4 by scoring 21 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Harris will have to have an even better performance if Embiid is ruled out for Game 5. Point guard Ben Simmons only had 13 points in Game 4. He would have to shoulder a bigger share of the scoring load in Game 5 if Embiid can’t play.
Can Bradley Beal Continue His Hot Shooting?
Bradley Beal proved in the regular season that he is one of the most gifted scorers in the NBA. The former Florida Gator has been the most consistent player for the Wizards in the playoffs as well by averaging 29.5 points per game. Beal has not shot too well from three point land so far in the playoffs, but he has been more aggressive at driving to the basket.
Westbrook gets most of the media buzz for his triple-doubles, and deservedly so. However, if the Wizards are going to pull off the upset on the road in Game 5, Beal will be the key factor.
Can Washington Finally Play Better on the Road?
Can Wizards coach Scott Brooks finally get his team to play at a higher level on the road? Washington has struggled away from home the entire season by posting a 15-21 record on the highway. The Wizards will need another solid performance from Beal and Westbrook to pull off the road upset.
The Sixers have dominated on their home floor this season with a 29-7 mark at the Wells Fargo Center. If Embiid plays, the Sixers stand a good chance of winning Game 5 and closing out this series against the Wizards. Philly fans will wait with bated breath on Embiid’s MRI results.