Philadelphia’s MVP candidate dazzled and dunked Friday, getting the 76ers rolling to a 127-101 win over the Wizards. Then, midway through the third quarter, he landed awkwardly after one slam and appeared to hyperextend his left knee. The 7-foot center stayed on the court for a few moments, clutching his leg and grimacing in pain before walking to the locker room on his own.
Philadelphia Coach Doc Rivers said Embiid was set to have an MRI exam on the knee once the team returned to Philadelphia.
“Thought there was a little contact when he went up to dunk the ball, thought he fell with his balance off,” Rivers said during a postgame videoconference. “I’m not going to speculate, tomorrow we’ll have all the information for you. Hoping for the best. Yeah, I did talk to him, he was in the locker room, he was in pretty good spirits. Let’s just hope for the best.”
Embiid was dominant until the fall, posting 23 points and seven rebounds. Philadelphia (26-12) had a 20-point lead when he went down, and Washington (14-22) never threatened the visitors even after the 76ers star exited.
Washington simply did not have enough firepower to match Embiid and his talented band of supporters — even without Ben Simmons, who missed his second regular season game because of the league’s coronavirus protocols.
Russell Westbrook led the Wizards with 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds while Bradley Beal had 19 points on another night when the team’s backcourt received little help on the offensive end.
“We need some other guys to get active and get opportunities,” Brooks said. “It’s a combination — I’ve got to do a better job of finding them, but they’ve also got to do their job of running and getting out in transition. Rui, the last couple of games, he needs to play better, and he will. Just a couple of games in a row now, maybe more than that — I’m more concerned with zero rebounds in 21 minutes. He’s better than that. He knows it. Yeah. We’ve got to get some more guys. They’re going to load up on Brad and Russell. We have to be able to get offense from other guys.”
Beal was a game-time decision to play because of some soreness in his left knee.
“It felt good. It felt better than the other night, after the game. Got a lot of treatment on it today. It actually felt good,” said Beal, who had just his second sub-20 point game of the season playing limited minutes after the 76ers had the game under control. “. . . I went out and played and competed the best I could.”
Philadelphia ran its offense as it pleased and dominated Washington on the boards.
Embiid led six scorers in double figures, with Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz scoring 18 point each.
For the Wizards, there was trouble from the start.
Of all the poor first quarters they played this season, Friday’s was perhaps their worst — not because of their defense, which allowed 32 points, but because of the way the Wizards were beaten. Embiid, who missed Thursday’s win over the Bulls after coming in contact with a barber who tested positive for the coronavirus, played as if center Moritz Wagner had personally offended him, slamming dunks with abandon and hauling in rebounds with barely any effort.
There were no quick solutions to keep the score respectable, either, as Washington went 0 for 7 from the three-point line and made just six field goals in the quarter, with long-range specialist Davis Bertans checking out of the game for good because of tightness in his right calf with 7:51 left in the first half.
The Wizards shot better in the second quarter behind a more active stretch from Westbrook as a playmaker and with Embiid playing fewer minutes because of foul trouble.
But the home team never got closer than eight points of the lead, not with Embiid available to check in and change the game on-demand whenever Washington got too comfortable.