Joel Embiid scored 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lift host Philadelphia past the Washington Wizards 113-107 in head coach Doc Rivers’ debut with the 76ers in the season opener on Wednesday.
Shake Milton added 19 points while Ben Simmons had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Simmons’ dunk in the final 30 seconds keyed the victory. Seth Curry chipped in 13 points.
Russell Westbrook led the Wizards with 21 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds for his 147th career triple-double. Westbrook became the first player in franchise history to post a triple-double in his debut.
Bradley Beal scored 31 points and Davis Bertans added 14 for the Wizards.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Curry and Embiid extended the Sixers’ lead to 50-37 with 5:10 remaining in the first half.
The Wizards took advantage of the Sixers’ sixth turnover when Beal and Bertans each hit a 3-pointer to close within 51-47.
Washington erased the rest of that 13-point deficit and went ahead 59-58 at halftime. Embiid had 14 points and nine rebounds in the half.
The Sixers missed their first 10 shots of the third quarter and trailed 70-58. Simmons then scored in the lane with 6:06 left to get back within 10.
The Wizards came out aggressive and continued to play that way on their way to a 73-62 lead after first round draft pick Deni Avdija made 1 of 2 free throws with 4:48 remaining.
Bertans dropped in a trey at the third quarter buzzer, but it was launched just after time expired. Still, the Wizards led 83-73.
Embiid hit four free throws early in the fourth quarter and the Sixers quickly cut the lead to 83-80.
Embiid stayed hot, making a 15-foot jumper, and the Sixers tied the game at 88.
Beal made another difficult 3-pointer with 4:02 left for a 99-95 Wizards lead.
The Sixers came back with a 6-0 run capped by Simmons’ layup for a 101-99 advantage with 2:27 remaining.