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NBA playoffs: Wizards fend off sweep, 76ers' Joel Embiid injures knee

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double in a Game 4 playoff win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE
Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double in a Game 4 playoff win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE

June 1 (UPI) -- The Washington Wizards fended off a sweep by the Philadelphia 76ers with an eventful Game 4 victory in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

Russell Westbrook recorded a 19-point, 21-rebound, 14-assist triple-double in the 122-114 win Monday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Fellow Wizards guard Bradley Beal scored a game-high 27 points.

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"We knew we had to win or go home," Westbrook told reporters. "We had to scrap and find ways to get a win. We got stops. That was a big turning point."

The game featured nine lead changes and was tied six times. The Wizards outscored the 76ers 21-7 off fastbreaks.

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Wizards defenders put constant pressure on Ben Simmons and fouled the 76ers guard down the stretch to force him to the free throw line, due to his poor foul shot shooting (5 of 11).

"We lost our cool with the referees and officiating too much," Simmons told reporters. "We have to hoop and it starts on defense.

"There were a lot of possessions where we weren't connected or communicating. Our defense is huge and that's how we win games."

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76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid sustained a right knee injury later in the first quarter and did not return to the game. A fan also interrupted the game in the third quarter when he ran onto the court and was tackled by a security guard.

The 76ers jumped out to an initial 6-2 lead in the first quarter. They then went on a 10-1 run to push their first quarter advantage to 16-5. The Wizards ended the frame on a 10-3 run to cut the 76ers lead to 31-28 through the first 12 minutes.

The Wizards outscored the 76ers 32-30 in the second quarter and trailed 61-60 at halftime. Beal scored 10 points in the third quarter to help the Wizards outscore the 76ers 32-19 and take a 92-80 edge into the fourth quarter.

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The 76ers outscored the Wizards 34-30 down the stretch, but could not close the deficit.

Wizards forward Rui Hachimura scored 20 points with 13 rebounds in the win. Robin Lopez scored 16 points off the Wizards bench.

Tobias Harris scored a team-high 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for the 76ers. Simmons chipped in 13 points and 12 rebounds in the loss. Tyrese Maxey scored 15 points off the 76ers bench.

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The 76ers designated Embiid's injury as right knee soreness. He is expected to receive treatment and get the knee examined Tuesday.

"Losing Joel was the No. 1 [problem] and getting into foul trouble as well," 76ers coach Doc Rivers told reporters.

"Those are the two things that hurt us. We had Danny [Green] in foul trouble, Ben in foul trouble and Joel out of the game. On the fly, we were just trying to find the right lineup."

The 76ers host the Wizards in Game 5 at 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The winner of the series battles the New York Knicks or Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Hawks lead the Knicks 3-1 in their first-round series.

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