76ers take down Wizards in Rivers’ coaching debut

Joel Embiid # 21 of the Philadelphia 76ers attempts a second quarter jump shot against the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center on December 23, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images / AFP

Joel Embiid scored 29 points and 14 rebounds to put host Philadelphia past the Washington Wizards 113-107 in head coach Doc Rivers’ debut with the 76ers in Wednesday’s season opener.

Shake Milton added 19 points while Ben Simmons had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Simmons’ dunk in the final 30 seconds allowed the victory. Seth Curry had 13 points.

Russell Westbrook led the Wizards with 21 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds for his 147th career triple-double. Westbrook became the first player in franchise history to record a triple-double in his debut.

Bradley Beal scored 31 points and Davis Bertans added 14 for the Wizards.

Curry and Embiid’s three straight points extended the Sixers’ lead to 50-37 with 5:10 left in the first half.

The Wizards took advantage of the Sixers’ sixth turnover when Beal and Bertans each hit a 3-point to close at 51-47.

Washington wiped out the remainder of that 13-point deficit and went 59-58 at halftime. Embiid had 14 points and nine rebounds in the half.

The Sixers missed their first 10 shots of the third quarter and were trailing 70-58. Simmons then scored in the lane with 6:06 left to come back to under 10.

The Wizards came out aggressive and continued to play that way on their way to a 73-62 lead after first-round pick Deni Avdija made 1 of 2 free throws with 4:48 left.

Bertans dropped a trey at the third quarter buzzer, but it was thrown just after the deadline expired. Still, the Wizards were leading 83-73.

Embiid had four free throws early in the fourth quarter and the Sixers quickly reduced the lead to 83-80.

Embiid stayed warm, making a 15-foot jumper, and the Sixers tied the game at 88.

Beal made another difficult 3 points with 4:02 to go for a 99-95 Wizards lead.

The Sixers returned with a 6-0 run capped by Simmons’ layup for a 101-99 advantage with 2:27 remaining.

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