NBA Playoffs: 5 takeaways from Game 1 between Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Game 1 Takeaway #3: Joel Embiid is best on the bench

Before the series started, Alex Saenz broke down what the Wizards needed to do to stop Joel Embiid and ultimately pull off the upset over the 76ers. In game one, the Wizards were mildly successful. Embiid was held in relative check during the first half as he racked up three first-half fouls and just nine points. As a result, Embiid played less than half of the first-half minutes (10:25), then nearly doubled it in the second half (19:21).

While the Wizards had decent success against Embiid in the first half, he was a problem for the Wizards in the second half. The Wizards were outscored by eight in the second half after taking a one-point lead into halftime. During that time, Embiid exploded for 21 points, finishing with 30 points and six rebounds.

After getting into some foul trouble in the first half, Embiid tightened things up in the second half and was only called for one personal foul in the final 24 minutes. If Embiid continues to play that disciplined, it will be an issue for the Wizards. When Embiid was on the bench, the Wizards outscored the 76ers by 13 points. While he was on the floor, the 76ers outscored the Wizards by 20 points.

The Wizards obviously fare better when the 76ers’ best player is on the bench. Now, they must figure out a way to keep him there for much longer because when he was on the court, they did not seem to have an answer for the MVP finalist.