The Philadelphia 76ers aim to record their first postseason hit since 1991, when they play the fourth game of their first round of the Eastern Conference on Monday against host Washington Wizards.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Ben Simmons said after the 76ers got a 132-103 victory in Saturday’s third game. “We want to take a look so we can rest a little bit. But this is a tough team. You never know what you’ll get every night, especially with (Bradley) Beal and (Russell) Westbrook.
“So we have to come prepared Monday.”
The top-ranked 76ers prepared for Saturday, and now have the eighth-ranked Wizards in a precarious position. Although it has happened in the NHL and Major League Baseball, no NBA team has ever met with a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.
As for Philadelphia, it is bidding to sweep an opponent for the first time since sending Milwaukee in a first-round series of the best of five in 1991. The last time the 76ers removed the brooms in a series of best of seven was in 1985, also against the Bucks.
Joel Embiid scored 25 of his 36 high points in the playoffs in the first half of Saturday’s contest.
The four-time All-Star targeted the Wizards after picking him against the double team. Daniel Gafford of Washington was too small to protect Embiid, while Alex Len and Robin Lopez had trouble keeping up with the speed and speed of the 7 feet.
“It was a one-on-one, and I wanted to take advantage of it. I guess there’s a decision,” said Embiid, who has an average of 29.3 points in the series.
Embiid made 14 of 18 shots from the ground that night to improve to 31 of 46 (67.4%) in the series. He also made 3 of 4 3-point attempts per second in so many games.
“I can’t imagine anyone playing better than him. He was the level MVP (Saturday),” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We’ve tried different things, but he’s a good player. He’s definitely a handful.”
Tobias Harris added his third straight performance to the series after adding 20 points and 13 rebounds. He averages 25.3 points and shoots 57.1 percent from the ground.
“It would be great for us,” Harris said as he completed a possible sweep. “From the beginning of the series, the goal is always to get in and run the business … We need that same kind of mindset in the next one.”
Westbrook played fun through the effects of a right ankle sprain. He posted his eleventh triple-double postseason after adding 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists on Saturday.
Beal added 25 points despite a bleak performance from the 3-point range (1 of 8). He closes two 1,000 points for his postseason career.
Washington has fought powerfully from three points. The Wizards followed a terrible 2-of-22 shot from beyond the arc in Game 2 making Saturday eight of the 35 3-point attempts.
–Media at field level