The Philadelphia 76ers got their season off to a winning start, pulling off a 113-107 comeback win over the Washington Wizards.
After trailing by 10 points heading into the final frame, Joel Embiid scored 15 of his team-high 29 points in the fourth as Philly took over down the stretch, winning the final 12 minutes 40-24.
"I don't think anybody can stop me, especially with the mentality I have this year," Embiid said post-game.
Embiid single-handedly brought the 76ers back into the contest, scoring on five straight possessions on the block, turning them into 11 points as the Wizards couldn't find a way to stop the All-Star big man.
"He's the focal point. The ball is going to Embiid on every single play," Bradley Beal said. "He's a hassle down there."
Embiid shot an efficient 10-of-17 from the field, adding 14 rebounds on the night, while Ben Simmons flirted with a triple-double, recording 16 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
Simmons put the exclamation point on the comeback throwing down. the two-handed flush to put Philly up 109-105 with 21 seconds remaining.
Ben throws down the ❗️ in the @sixers W!#KiaTipOff20 pic.twitter.com/tUoPknD9YH- NBA (@NBA) December 24, 2020
The star duo led the charge down the stretch, dominating inside as they outscored the Wizards 52-26 in the paint, and they needed every one of those buckets as their shooters struggled to get going in their opening game, with starters Seth Curry, Danny Green, and Tobias Harris combining to shoot 1-of-13 from the 3-point line. Philly shot 8-of-28 from deep on the night.
Shake Milton chipped in 19 points off the bench and Furkan Korkmaz 11, while rookie Tyrese Maxey looked right at home in his first NBA game, confidently attacking the rim and creating scoring opportunities for his teammates, both in the halfcourt and transition on his way to six points, two rebounds, and two assists in his 11 minutes on court.
The Wizards' new starting backcourt of Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal looked exactly like the dynamic pairing many expected, with Westbrook recording a triple-double in his Wizards debut, finishing with 21 points, 15 assists, and 11 rebounds, while Beal poured in a game-high 31 points.
Russell Westbrook is the first player with a triple-double within the first 3 quarters of his team's season opener over the last 25 seasons. pic.twitter.com/uRNEUtrpFy- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 24, 2020
Both teams will have a few days rest before returning to action after Christmas with the 76ers travelling to New York to take on the Knicks, while the Wizards will host the Orlando Magic.
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