Seth Curry Stepped Up To Help The Sixers Put Away The Wizards In Game 5

After seeing Joel Embiid go down in Game 4, the Sixers looked flat, unable to respond to the Wizards’ desperation as Washington picked up their first win of the series to force a Game 5 back in Philadelphia. On Wednesday morning, word emerged that Embiid was dealing with a small tear in his meniscus that would make him day-to-day, bringing plenty of concern to the MVP candidate’s immediate future.

Doc Rivers said he was unsure when Embiid could return and as such the Sixers needed to take care of business without him to advance to the second round. That meant someone needed to step up, and the man who took that expanded role head on in Game 5 was sharpshooter Seth Curry, who led the Sixers with 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting (3-of-6 from three) in what ended up being a 129-112 Philly win to send them to the second round, likely against the Atlanta Hawks.

Curry’s big night helped to create space for the Sixers two healthy stars, as Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons each were terrific in the closeout game. Harris had 28 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and three steals, while Simmons added 19 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds, and two blocks to push the Sixers into the second round.

On the other side, it was a just a matter of the Wizards not having enough firepower to overcome their defensive shortcomings, particularly without their top three-point threat with Davis Bertans injured. Bradley Beal had 32 points to lead all scorers and Russell Westbrook added 24 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds, but neither were particularly efficient and only Rui Hachimura, with 21 points, could reach double figures next to them.

In the end, the Sixers overwhelmed the Wizards with their depth, led by Curry but also getting strong efforts from Tyrese Maxey (13 points, six rebounds) and Dwight Howard (12 points, eight rebounds).

They will now rest up for the second round, with the hope that Embiid will be able to join them sooner than later against a much different test in the form of the Atlanta Hawks. The good news is that Game 5 offered a glimpse at how they can operate successfully on both ends of the floor without Embiid, giving some confidence that they could possibly withstand a brief absence from their big man — particularly Curry showing an ability to create shots off the dribble and not just as a spot-up threat. Still, so much of this year’s playoff run is dependent on Embiid’s health for Philly, and that remains a nervy wait-and-see situation.