NBA playoffs

76ers hold off Wizards to take Game 1

76ers hold off Wizards to take Game 1

FALLING SHORT. Wizards star Bradley Beal sees his 30-point double-double go down the drain against the 76ers.

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Eastern Conference top seed 76ers lean on Tobias Harris' playoff career-high to draw first blood against 8th seed Wizards in the first round of the NBA playoffs

Tobias Harris set a playoff career-high 37 points to help host and top seed Philadelphia 76ers hold off 8th seed Washington Wizards 125-118 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series on Sunday, May 23 (Monday, May 24, Manila time).

Harris scored 15 of his 28 first-half points in the second quarter to keep the 76ers in the game early as the Wizards jumped out to a 62-61 halftime lead. Philadelphia outscored Washington 38-31 in the third quarter and 64-56 in the second half.

“I wanted to set the tone early on and just show what we’re about all year,” Harris told the NBA on TNT broadcast after the win. “We know this playoff run is going to be as tough as they get. We’ve just got to bring the energy and bring the fire each and every night.”

Joel Embiid finished with 30 points and 6 rebounds, Seth Curry scored 15, and Danny Green and George Hill added 11 apiece for the 76ers. Ben Simmons scored only 6 points but grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out a playoff career-high 15 assists for Philadelphia.

Bradley Beal paced the Wizards with 33 points and 10 rebounds. Russell Westbrook had 16 points, 14 assists, and 5 rebounds, Davis Bertans added 14 points, and Rui Hachimura, Alex Len, and Daniel Gafford each scored 12.

Harris’ previous career playoff high was 29 points in April 2019 against Brooklyn. Simmons became the sixth 76ers player to record 15 or more assists in a playoff game and the first since Allen Iverson in 2005.

The Wizards trimmed the 76ers’ 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter down to 5 points entering the final minute.

Simmons missed a pair of free throws with the 76ers leading 121-116 and 43.9 seconds remaining, but Westbrook stepped out of bounds trying to corral a pass from Gafford with 37.1 seconds on the clock.

After an Embiid turnover on the ensuing possession, Westbrook missed a three-pointer with 17.8 seconds remaining as Embiid and Harris sealed the win at the free throw line. –