WASHINGTON – After the Philadelphia 76ers lost NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid to what the team called a sore right knee late in the first quarter Monday night, they lost their lead — and their chance at the franchise's first playoff sweep in 36 years.
With Embiid gone for most of Game 4, Bradley Beal's 27 points, Russell Westbrook's 12th career playoff triple-double and Washington's strategy of fouling Ben Simmons whenever possible down the stretch all helped the Wizards beat the 76ers 122-114 to cut Philadelphia's series edge to 3-1.
“Each guy thought they had to win the game for us,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said about what happened to his team's offense after Embiid departed. “You've still got to play right. ... Tonight we didn’t play right, on either end.”
Asked for more information about Embiid's knee, Rivers said, “I really don't know,” and added that some “precautionary” tests will be done Tuesday.
Tobias Harris, who led the Sixers with 21 points and 13 rebounds, summed up his club's situation this way: "It's not the end of the world."
“Obviously,” Simmons said, "we need Joel to win. He’s a big part of this team."
Game 5 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series is Wednesday at Philadelphia.