By Jerry Wein
Joel Embiid set a career playoff high with 36 points as the Sixers routed the Wizards 132-103 to take a 3-0 lead in the first-round series.
Embiid scored 25 points in the first half, and finished 14 of 18 from the floor in 28 minutes before resting the entire fourth quarter. The top-seeded 76ers will go for the sweep in Game 4 on Monday.
His signature moment of this victory came seconds after he missed a monster dunk, going back down the floor and connecting on his next attempt while drawing a foul. Embiid then cupped his hands to his ears to encourage the crowd of over 10,000, which was the largest to attend an indoor sporting event in the nation’s capital in 14 months.
The reaction was mixed then and throughout as the 76ers kept the Wizards at arm’s length before pulling away. Beyond seven minutes in, it was never closer than four points, and Philadelphia led by as many as 31 on the way to the franchise’s first 3-0 series lead since 1985.
The 76ers took advantage of the Wizards’ biggest stars nursing injuries, though they still produced. Russell Westbrook had 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the triple-double after being a game-time decision with a sprained right ankle, and Beal had 25 as he continues to get back to full health from a strained left hamstring.
Ben Simmons scored 14 and had nine assists — Tobias Harris had 20 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and Danny Green made five 3-pointers to finish with 15.
The 76ers shot 58.6% from the field, including 51.5% from 3-point range.