By Sally Fahey
Kristaps Porzingis had 30 points and nine rebounds, Bradley Beal added 29 points and the Wizards took advantage of Joel Embiid’s absence for a 121-111 victory over the Sixers.
Kyle Kuzma also added 18 points for Washington, which didn’t trail for the final three quarters of the game and was able to match up against Philadelphia’s smaller guard-heavy lin
Tyrese Maxey scored 32 points for the 76ers, while James Harden had 24 and Tobias Harris added 16.
“We just didn’t get timely stops,” Maxey said. “They got some easy looks. We got the game close in the fourth quarter, but that’s the time when you have to buckle down and get stops and we didn’t get those stops tonight.”
Embiid missed his third game of the season, sitting out with an illness the team said was not related to COVID-19. Sixers coach Doc Rivers said Embiid has the flu and has not been around the team in recent days to avoid spreading it around the locker room. Embiid, who has averaged 27.2 points and 9.5 rebounds in six games, missed Monday night’s game in Washington for the same reason.
Washington controlled the inside against Philadelphia’s backups of P.J. Tucker and Paul Reed. The Wizards outscored the 76ers by a 69-38 margin in the paint and held a 50-40 edge on the boards. Most of that was because of a confusion against Porzingis, who was able to pop outside at times and then rolled with Beal’s feeds.
“We know how much of a difference maker Joel is, but we were able to take advantage of KP’s length,’ Beal said. ”You have to stand there and make a decision. He can stand over you and shoot over you. He can space the floor and then roll. It’s great versatility and he’s an underrated defender. He has a nice overall game, I’m glad he’s putting it together and we’re going to have to continue to feed him.”