Tobias Harris Drops 37 as Joel Embiid, 76ers Top Bradley Beal, Wizards in Game 1

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 23, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris, right, tries to get past Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal during the first half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers are off to a strong start in their first-round playoff series against the Washington Wizards.

Led by a career effort from Tobias Harris, the 76ers came away with a 125-118 victory over eighth-seeded Washington in Game 1 on Sunday afternoon. 

For Washington, which made it out of the play-in tournament with a blowout of the Indiana Pacers, Bradley Beal scored 33 points. 

Notable Performers

  • Tobias Harris, 76ers: 37 PTS (15-of-29 FG, 2-of-5 3PT, 5-of-5 FT, 6 REB
  • Joel Embiid, 76ers: 30 PTS (9-of-16 FG, 0-of-3 3PT, 12-of-13 FT), 6 REB
  • Bradley Beal, Wizards: 33 PTS (13-of-23 FG, 1-of-6 3PT, 6-of-6 FT), 10 REB, 6 AST
  • Russell Westbrook, Wizards: 16 PTS (7-of-17 FG, 0-of-2 3PT, 2-of-2 FT), 14 AST, 5 REB

Career-High Effort from Harris Handles Wizards 

Tobias Harris led the 76ers through the first quarter, with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting to lead an offense that was hindered early by two fouls on star Joel Embiid. He got his third partway through the second quarter, forcing Philadelphia to turn to other options early. 

At the break, Harris had a monstrous 28 points to keep Philadelphia in it. Embiid had nine points in 10 minutes on the floor, while his absence was filled by seven points each from Dwight Howard and George Hill from the bench. 

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

.@tobias31 isn't playing around. 💪 pic.twitter.com/7SRTCdtpK0

The absence of Embiid was certainly felt as they went into the break down by one.

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps

Helps when Joel Embiid only plays 10 minutes. When he was on the court, Philly was plus 9. In the 14 minutes he sat, Sixers were -10. Whether he can stay out of foul trouble after 3 quick ones in the first half will obviously be a huge story in the second half of this game. https://t.co/I3otyEXRXO

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

Ladies and gentlemen,<br><br>Tobias Harris. pic.twitter.com/nI42GkB47L

When he returned for more time in the third quarter, the 76ers were back in it, heading into the final 12 minutes with a six-point lead. Embiid logged 13 points in the frame as Harris hit the 30-point threshold, marking a new postseason career high.

He ended the day with 37 points, leading the 76ers' effort to keep them afloat before Embiid could safely come back into the fold. 

Ben Simmons also posted a new postseason best, logging 15 assists—the most by a Philadelphia player in the postseason since Allen Iverson's effort in 2005. 

Balanced Effort Kept Washington Battling

A slow start for Washington had them a 10-point hole early in the game, with Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal starting a combined 2-of-7 shooting from the field. But a renewed effort had them back in it by the end of the first frame, when they were down by one. 

A balanced effort in the first half allowed them to keep pace with the top seed.

Davis Bertans—who entered Sunday averaging 11.5 points—had already tallied 11 to lead an effort from the bench. 

Fred Katz @FredKatz

Davis Bertans showing up to the playoffs: pic.twitter.com/TQtTz9cQCp

Washington Wizards @WashWizards

B<br>3<br>R<br>T<br>A<br>N<br>S pic.twitter.com/OMotstCnfi

He was one of four Wizards to tally double-digits by the break, with Alex Len joining Beal and Westbrook with 10 points each. 

A hot third from Beal, who scored 17 points in the frame, kept the Wizards in it amid a resurgence from Embiid. 

Washington Wizards @WashWizards

17 points in the 3rd for Brad!#WizSixers | @RealDealBeal23 pic.twitter.com/cG4R4VWvfM

In a battle of fast-flying offenses, Washington had the edge in every shooting category, ending the day going 55.7 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from deep and 80.0 percent from the line, though allowing Philadelphia to score 15 points off of turnovers while getting them to the free-throw line 33 times gave the top seed the edge. 

What's Next? 

Game 2 is Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.