Philadelphia 76ers fans hold your breath. While the Washington Wizards 122-114 victory last night may have merely delayed the 76ers progress into the Conference Semifinals, an injury concern to star man Joel Embiid could well threaten to derail the rest of their playoffs.
The talismanic center, who is one of the NBA MVP candidates this season, limped out of the game after the first quarter after being met at the rim by Wizards center Robin Lopez.
Lopez block was clean, but upon landing Embiid lost his balance and fell heavily onto his back and side and it was abundantly clear for the rest of the opening quarter that the 76ers star man was in a great deal of discomfort.
Embiid checked out the game at the very end of the first quarter, but did not reappear for the second half as the 76ers were caught and eventually beaten for the first time this season, by the Wizards.
Right Knee Issue
After the game, the 76ers coach Doc Rivers confirmed that Embiid had ‘right knee soreness’
following the fall and that he would have an MRI on Tuesday to see what the damage is.
As such, Embiid is now a doubt for the fifth game in the series, which will be played back in Philadelphia and where the 76ers will be hoping to tie up what had been a very convincing series win until last night.
With Embiid absent from the second quarter onwards, the Wizards took full advantage, scoring 48 points in the paint and outscoring the 76ers by 15 points across the second and third quarters.
Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double, landing 21 rebounds, 14 assists and 19 points for the Wizards, for whom Bradley Beal, yet again, was their top scorer with 27 points. Rui Hachimura also made a telling 20-point contribution while also landing 13 rebounds.
While a series win looks a long shot for the Wizards, last night’s victory at least means they end the season with one win over the 76ers and they head into Wednesday’s game with the boost of that victory.
Clippers And Jazz Land Important Victories
The Los Angeles Clippers levelled their series with the Dallas Mavericks in the early game last night. Having lost both games at the Staples Center, with Luka Doncic decisive for the Mavs, the Clippers have found their mojo on the road winning 118-108 in the third game, and then 106-81 in last nights fourth game.
With Doncic only contributing 19 points, Dallas found points hard to come by against the Clippers, who raced into a 16-point lead at half time and extended that to 22 by the end of the third quarter.
Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points for the Clippers, with Paul George contributing 20 in what was a very impressive display from L.A and which sets up an intriguing fifth game in the series.
In the third game last night, the Utah Jazz moved 3-1 ahead in their series with the Memphis Grizzlies, landing their third win in a row by a 120-113 scoreline in Memphis.
Donovan Mitchell was the star man for the Jazz, hitting 30 points, while Jordan Clarkson produced an excellent performance from the bench scoring 24 points in just 21 minutes of action and also landing six rebounds in that time.
After two close quarters, the Jazz opened up a 13 point lead at the end of the third and although the Grizzlies clawed back some of that deficit in the fourth quarter, they could not bridge the gap fully.
The Jazz are now one game away from clinching a Conference Semifinal spot in the west and they have home court advantage in Game 5 on Thursday Night.