76ers seek longest winning streak since 2003

The last time the Philadelphia 76ers won eight consecutive games, Larry Brown was coaching Allen Iverson on a team who was two years removed from an NBA Finals appearance.

Joel Embiid was a nine-year-old in Cameroon and Ben Simmons was a six-year-old in Australia.

Now the dynamic duo is helping the 76ers get on a roll and go on the Eastern Conference’s longest current winning streak heading into Sunday’s visit to the Washington Wizards.

Philadelphia is on its first seven-game winning streak since Jan. 6-17, 2009.

The 76ers last eight-game win streak was a nine-game run from Feb. 12-March 2, 2003 when Iverson was in his seventh season in Philadelphia and Brown was in his final season coaching the team during a 48-win campaign.

Philadelphia kept its streak alive by shooting 51.9 percent in a 116-105 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday. The Sixers also continued to get productive games from Embiid and Simmons.

“I think it’s what we spoke about in the pre-game press, we can, I can inflate the importance in my mind of every game,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “And I’m trying to stay with these guys behind me nice and steady in relation to what matters most.”

Embiid totaled 28 points and 14 rebounds Saturday. It was the sixth time in his last seven games he reached at least 20 points and 34th time overall, which leads the team.

Embiid has appeared in six games during the streak and in those games, he is averaging 25.8 points, 13 rebounds. In those contests, Embiid is shooting 52.3 percent, including 42.3 from 3-point range.

Embiid is expected to play Sunday and it will mark the third time he has played on the second part of a back-to-back set. He has averaged 26.5 points in 33.9 minutes in those games.

“I’m definitely getting better,” Embiid said. “I feel like the game is becoming easy for me. I’m just letting the game come to me. Last time I was at 81 percent, so this time 87 percent.”

Simmons leads all rookies by scoring in double figures 50 times. He totaled 17 points, seven assists, and four rebounds Saturday.

During Philadelphia’s winning streak, Simmons is averaging 17 points, 8.6 assists, and seven rebounds while shooting 59.5 percent to raise his season shooting percentage to 53.4 percent.

Washington is 8-3 in its last 11 games since losing John Wall to a knee injury. The Wizards won three straight road games before getting dealt a 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.

Bradley Beal scored 33 points, but Washington did little else right.

“We just didn’t have energy, focus, no fight back no nothing,” Beal told reporters. “They flat out whooped us.”

Among the things Washington did wrong was allowing 28 points off 14 turnovers and allowing Charlotte to shoot 48.9 percent and hit 17 3-pointers.

“We were a little careless for whatever reason,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters. “We just did not have that edge that we’ve had for the last couple of weeks.”

It resulted in Washington’s 10th loss against a team with a losing record. Against teams with winning records, the Wizards are 15-15 and since losing Wall they own wins over Oklahoma City, Toronto, and Cleveland.

Since losing Wall, Beal is averaging 22.5 points on 45.9 shooting.

Philadelphia has won two of the first three meetings as Embiid is averaging 23.3 points.

Wall and Beal combined for 53 points in Washington’s 120-115 victory Oct. 18. Embiid and Simmons combined for 56 points in a 118-113 win at Philadelphia on Nov. 29 and the Sixers shot 54.9 percent in a 115-102 home victory Feb. 6.

Washington has won the last seven home meetings with Philadelphia and 20 of the last 26.