By Art Beitchman
The first weekend of the 2021 NBA playoffs had a little bit of everything. For the 76ers they did what #1 seeds are supposed to do, handle their business.
They did that with a 125-118 victory over the pesky Washington Wizards, with 11,000 Sixers fans sounding like 30K as the anticipation of this possible NBA championship run had an electric feel to it.
As star center Joel Embiid was whistled for his 3rd foul in the 1st half, the “refs suck” song was on display at the WFC, no problem.
Forward Tobias Harris answered with 28 first-half points, finishing with a game high of 37.
Embiid returned after playing just 10 minutes in the first half, and he abused the trio of bummy centers the Wiz threw at him for 21 in the second half, finishing with 30. Harris and Embiid became the first Sixers duo to score over 30 in a playoff game since Hersey Hawkins and Charles Barkley did the trick 31 years ago!
All-Star guard Ben Simmons also put his stamp on the opening round with 15 assists and 15 rebounds, great defense versus the Wiz big time guards Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook, who was mediocre at best with Simmons D-ing him up!
The only 76er ever to have that type production in a playoff game was “The Big Dipper”, Wilt Chamberlain, who grabbed 30 rebounds and handed out 19 assists in the 1967 playoffs versus the Cincinnati Royals, also an opening round series, the 76ers went on to capture the NBA title that year, the 1st in franchise history.