The Philadelphia 76ers are in control of their first-round series against the Washington wizards after cruising to a comfortable 120-95 Game 2 win at home.
Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid combined for 63 points as they overwhelmed with Wizards from the jump to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
Let's jump into the key takeaways at the buzzer.
1. Playoff Ben Simmons is here
Entering the post-season, many questioned how Simmons would make his impact on the 76ers offence and after starring with his playmaking in Game 1, he brought the aggression in Game 2.
After scoring six points in Game 1, the Aussie set the tone tonight, scoring 12 of his 22 points in the first quarter, getting out in transition, bullying smaller opponents and getting to the rim.
Ben Simmons with the handle and strong slam on NBA TV! #NBAPlayoffs @WashWizards 20@sixers 27 pic.twitter.com/jJxPAL7jec- NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2021
"He needed to [be aggressive], with the way they were guarding me," Embiid said. "He was just aggressive. He's physical, athletic and he can make plays. He was great tonight and we need him to keep playing that way."
The All-Star point guard shot 11-of-15 from the field, adding nine rebounds, eight assists, and two steals, flirting with a triple-double while locking things up on the defensive end.
2. Harris and Embiid stay hot
When Simmons, Harris, and Embiid are all firing, the 76ers are tough to contain, with the mix of interior scoring, 3-pointers, and transition buckets piling on the pressure at every turn.
After the 76ers took a 35-24 lead at the end of the first quarter, Embiid came to life, scoring 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting, while Harris went 4-of-4 from the field to stretch the lead to 71-57 at the half.
Thrust the process. pic.twitter.com/bNOWsC4YnV- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 27, 2021
Embiid finished with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, adding seven rebounds, while Harris recorded 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting, and nine rebounds
3. Philly's defence is monstrous
The three-headed monster of Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and Danny Green is making life miserable for the Wizards' perimeter players.
Led by Matisse Thybulle and Ben Simmons, these @sixers are ACTIVE on defense! 🤯#NBAPlayoffs on NBA TV pic.twitter.com/n5lgKyEaIj- NBA (@NBA) May 27, 2021
With Simmons and Thybulle's size and agility closing off driving lanes, swarming shooters and playing the passing lanes, the Wizards had to work for their buckets, especially with Thybulle on the floor as the second-year swingman notched four steals and five blocks in just under 20 minutes on court - the first player in NBA history with four steals and five blocks in 20 or fewer minutes in any game, regular season or postseason, per StatHead.
🚫 Make it 5 Matisse Thybulle BLOCKS for the game! 🚫#NBAPlayoffs on NBA TV pic.twitter.com/nVrCKg9LpC- NBA (@NBA) May 27, 2021
4. Westbrook exits game after quiet night
Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook went back to the locker room midway through the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury.
Russell Westbrook was frustrated after suffering an apparent ankle injury.- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 27, 2021
He left for the locker room in the fourth. pic.twitter.com/XWqJK3WOOq
Smothered by Simmons and Thybulle, he found it tough to get shots to fall, scoring 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting, adding 11 assists.
4. Wizards need more offence outside of Beal
Beal kept the Wizards in the contest, scoring 24 of his 33 points in the first half, but he simply didn't have the help to share the scoring load.
Brad dropped 24p in the first half. Second half starts now!#WizSixers | @RealDealBeal23 pic.twitter.com/AEoRwjmnau- Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) May 27, 2021
Outside of Beal and Westbrook, the Wizards are short on offensive weapons, making Davis Bertans' ability to knock down shots crucial to getting them back into the series.
After scoring 14 points on 4-of-8 from beyond the arc in Game 1, Bertans went scoreless tonight on 0-of-4 from three in 24 minutes, before fouling out early in the fourth quarter.
5. Maxey doesn't look like a rookie
Tyrese Maxey is making his minutes count, giving the 76ers an offensive spark off the bench with 10 points, two assists, two rebounds and three blocks in just 14 minutes in Game 2.
Tisse & Tyrese?- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 27, 2021
Love to see it. https://t.co/a8wDa73xzI pic.twitter.com/IPugtEYcWn
The 20-year-old's offence teamed with Thybulle's defence is proving to be a dynamic bench tandem that has 76ers fans excited, and for good reason.
"Just to be such a young player and do it so consistently and at such a high level says a lot about the player he is, and the player he's gonna be," Thybulle said of Maxey post-game.
6. What's next?
The series shifts back to DC for the next two games, with Game 3 scheduled for Saturday, May 29 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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