The Washington Wizards keep their season alive!
In a thrilling 122-114 win at home, the Wizards avoid the sweep and pick up their first win in the series to cut the Philadelphia 76ers series lead to 3-1, behind big performances from Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal.
The Wizards led by as many 14 points late in the third quarter (92-78), before the 76ers stormed home to tie things up at 106-106. With their season on the line, the Wizards closed the game on a 12-4 run to force Game 5 back in Pilly.
Let's jump into the key takeaways at the buzzer:
Westbrook and Beal lead the charge
Russell Westbrook was at his energetic best in Game 4, willing the Wizards to victory with another monster triple-double, dropping 19 points, 21 rebounds, 14 assists, and two steals.
With his 12th playoff triple-double, he climbed above Jason Kidd to take sole ownership of third place, now trailing only LeBron James (28) and Magic Johnson (30).
Congrats to @russwest44 of the @WashWizards for moving up to 3rd on the #NBAPlayoffs TRIPLE-DOUBLES list! pic.twitter.com/7hCahEeUDy- NBA (@NBA) June 1, 2021
Westbrook struggled to get shots to drop, connecting on just 3-of-19 from the field, but he more than made up for it with his activity on the baords and his playmaking.
Beal led the Wizards in scoring effort with 27 points, but had an uncharacteristic shooting night, going 9-of-23 from the field and committed seven of the team's 13 turnovers.
Hachimura comes up BIG
With 45.6 seconds remaining, Hachimura buried the corner triple to put the Wizards in front 118-112, shutting the door on the 76ers' late rally.
On the following possession, he played great defence on Tobias Harris, forcing a miss from the 3-point line to effectively seal the win.
JAPAN'S JUMPMAN 🇯🇵#WizSixers | @rui_8mura pic.twitter.com/lv2U0I1rRi- Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) June 1, 2021
The Wizards have been desperate for a third scorer in this series, with Hachimura answering the call in just his fourth playoff game, with 20 points, 13 rebounds and two assists on 8-of-12 shooting and 3-of-6 from deep.
"He's growing up right in front of our eyes," Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said postgame of the second-year forward.
Robin 'Kareem' Lopez
Wizards reserve big man Robin Lopez had it going in Game 4, killing the 76ers inside with hook shot after hook shot.
He recorded 16 points and five boards in 19 minutes, connecting on 8-of-11 from the field, doing his best Kareem Abdul-Jabbar impersonation. With no Embiid, the 76ers had no answer for RoLo's hook shot masterpiece.
The hook shot work has been paying off for Robin Lopez! 🙌- NBA (@NBA) June 1, 2021
He's 7-8 from the field on TNT.#DCAboveAll #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/1Z3ivNluw0
Embiid injury scare
With 36.5 seconds left in the first quarter of Game 4, Embiid exited the game and didn't return, spending the entire second quarter in the locker room, before the team ruled him out.
Joel Embiid - right knee soreness - will not return.- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) June 1, 2021
He had recorded eight points, six rebounds, two assists and a block in 11 minutes of action.
Earlier in the first quarter, he suffered a nasty fall after getting rejected at the rim by Robin Lopez.
The sequence that had Joel Embiid grabbing at his back: pic.twitter.com/BIXGpJUhkL- NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) May 31, 2021
With Embiid off the floor, the 76ers were led by Tobias Harris' 21 points, but they found offence hard to come by with Ben Simmons battling early foul trouble.
Down the stretch, the Wizards intentionally sent the Aussie to the free-throw line, where he made just 5-of-11 and has now made just 5-of-20 (25 percent) through four games of the series. Simmons shot 61.3 percent from the line during the regular season on 4.9 attempts per game.
Despite his struggles at the line, head coach Doc Rivers came to his defence post-game telling reporters he has no plans of sitting the 6'10" playmaker in crunch time.
"Ben, we are going to keep him on the floor. Unless you guys want us to bench him the whole game, if anybody wants us to do that, just let me know, and then I'll know you don't know basketball"- John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) June 1, 2021
He finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists in 25 minutes of action.
More fan trouble
Late in the third quarter, a fan rushed the court and was quickly tackled by Capital One Arena security and escorted out of the arena.
A fan attempted to run on the court in the middle of Game 4 between the Sixers-Wizards pic.twitter.com/51pdBKOxwh- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 1, 2021
With increased crowd capacity in recent games, this is the latest instance of unruly behaviour, with the fan reportedly "banned from the arena with charges being pursued with DC MPD," Momumental Sports & Entertainment said in a statement.
The NBA released a statement last week warning of an enhanced fan code of conduct that "will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved."
The fan who ran onto court during Wizards-76ers tonight has been banned from the arena and charges are being pursued with DC Police Department.- Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 1, 2021
The series shifts back to Philadelphia as the 76ers look to close things out on their home floor. Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday, June 3 at 4:30 a.m. IST.
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