Washington Wizards: What to expect with Joel Embiid out for game five

Washington Wizards Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Wizards Dwight Howard.
Washington Wizards Dwight Howard. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

What to expect from the Philadelphia 76ers with Joel Embiid out.

We got a glimpse of what we can expect from the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half of game four. With Embiid out, Doc Rivers tried to remedy the situation by using two tactics.

First, we saw Dwight Howard attempt to replace Embiid. While Howard is a far drop off from Embiid, he’s the closest thing the 76ers have to a legit big man, and he has been a solid backup for the 76ers all season, averaging 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in a limited role. Per 36 minutes, he’s averaged 14.5 points and 17.5 rebounds this season, which is actually the most rebounds he’s averaged per 36 minutes throughout his career.

Rivers eventually moved away from Howard as game four progressed. Howard got zero fourth-quarter minutes. Instead, we saw the 76ers go small during the fourth quarter with Mike Scott and Tobias Harris serving as their de facto “big men.” In games one through three, Scott played 12 total minutes. In game four, he played 16 minutes.

The 76ers were effective with the small-ball lineups and hung 34 points on the Wizards in the fourth quarter, their highest-scoring quarter of the game. Those lineups open the floor and allow Ben Simmons to pick apart the Wizards’ defense and get it on its heels, at which point he can find an open shooter on the perimeter or attack the basket. The Wizards seem to have found an answer for Simmons, though.

Tyrese Maxey also had an easy time carving up the Wizards’ defense when the 76ers went small. In the fourth quarter of game four, Maxey had 10 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and three. It was a bit of a blessing when Rivers actually took him out in the fourth quarter of game four, but I’d expect we see a minutes bump for Maxey.