Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons help 76ers rout Wizards
Embiid had 16 points and 15 rebounds, Simmons added 13 points and 10 assists and both Philadelphia stars sat for the final quarter and a half in the 76ers’ 123-98 victory over Washington on Friday night.
T.J. McConnell scored 15 points to help the 76ers win their third in a row and seventh in the last eight. They improved to 12-1 at home.
The 25-point win followed a season-high 26-point home blowout of the Knicks in a 117-91 on Wednesday night.
Philadelphia took large leads in many triumphs this season only to see teams make it close late. Nine of the 76ers’ 16 wins have been by six points or less.
“It’s great for the team,” Embiid said. “Early in the season we had problems (holding large leads). I’m hoping we corrected it.”
Bradley Beal had 19 points for the short-handed Wizards. They have lost two straight.
Washington once again played without Dwight Howard. He’s expected to miss two to three months after undergoing spinal surgery on Friday to relieve pain in his glutes. The Wizards also didn’t have starter Otto Porter Jr., who was out for personal reasons.
“They outplayed us,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “They’re a talented team. You have to have your entire roster to give yourself the best chance.”
The first half was full of highlights for Philadelphia, which led 68-46 at the break.
Embiid drained a 3-pointer after a no-look, between-the-legs pass from Simmons early in the first; Simmons finished a drive with a dunk after a no-look, over-the-shoulder dish from McConnell with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first; and Simmons brought down the house with an alley-oop jam after an assist from Furkan Korkmaz.
“They were making shots, moving much faster than us,” Brooks said. “They were clicking.”
Philadelphia’s led by 35 in the second half, and the hosts finished the third period ahead 98-70. By then, Simmons and Embiid were resting comfortably on the bench while the reserves put the finishing touches on the 76ers’ fifth straight win over Washington in Philadelphia.
“That was a good team effort,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “We were able to rest guys.”
Simmons and Jimmy Butler sported matching white head bands as a sign of solidarity.
“They are defensive brothers,” Brown said. “They’re blood brothers. That band, to me, signifies a bonding, a defensive bonding. I’ve asked Jimmy to put Ben under his wing and really help Ben be all he can be defensively.”
The team announced that Howard underwent a lumbar microdiscotemy Friday in California and will be re-evaluated in two to three months. Doctors determined a herniated disk was causing Howard’s gluteal pain and nerve irritation.
Howard had missed the last five games after aggravating the injury, which also caused him to sit out training camp and the first seven games of the season.
Brooks acknowledged prior to the game that rebounding without the 6-foot-11 Howard has been a challenge.
“We had a game plan with Dwight being in the mix and shoring up our rim protection and rebounding issues,” Brooks said. “We struggle rebounding the ball. We just have to keep rebounding by committee.”
Wizards: Jeff Green replaced Porter in the starting lineup after being a game-time decision due to lower back soreness. Green got up slowly before exiting to the bench after fouling Simmons and falling hard to the floor with 5:17 left in the first. He had four points. … Washington’s last win in Philadelphia came on March 17, 2016, 99-94.
76ers: G Markelle Fultz will continue to have tests on his right shoulder into next week. Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick, has missed the last five games. … Joel Embiid’s father, Thomas, was in attendance for the second straight game. … Embiid had his NBA-best 22nd double-double. … The teams will play twice more in the regular season, Jan. 8 in Philadelphia and the following day in Washington. … Philadelphia outrebounded Washington 58-42.
Wizards: Host Brooklyn on Saturday night.
76ers: Host Memphis on Sunday night.