NBA

NBA Playoffs 2021: Joel Embiid posts career playoff high 36 points and Philadelphia 76ers take 3-0 lead over Washington Wizards

The Philadelphia 76ers have one foot in the second round of the postseason.

The Sixers were in cruise control for much of Game 3 against the Washington Wizards, blowing out the home team for a 132-103 win.

Washington had no answers for Philadelphia on either end of the floor, with the 76ers continuing their dominance in the series. Before we cast our eyes ahead to Game 4, let's jump in and take a look at some of the takeaways from an impressive performance by the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Decisive third quarter

Trailing 72-58 at the half, the room for error was minimal to start the third quarter for Washington.

The positive was that Russell Westbrook canned two triples to kickstart the Wizards offence in the first minute.

The negative was that Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris answered with long range bombs of their own.

That trend was largely the story of the night, with the Wizards inability to get stops in the important moments. Philadelphia would outscore Washington 37-28 in the period to effectively end the game with 12 minutes to play.

Embiid's path of destruction

From very early in Game 3 it was evident that Embiid didn't have much interest in letting this series remain on home court.

Embiid poured in 25 points in the first half on 9-for-13 shooting from the floor, scoring at will from any position he desired.

As if filling the stat sheet wasn't enough, the big man attempted to bring the rim down on this thunderous jam just before the half.

Adding another 11 points in the third, Embiid's services weren't required in the final frame, with the superstar big man putting his feet up in the fourth quarter.

The 36 points were a postseason career-high, coming in just 27 minutes on 18 shots.

Minutes Points FG/FGA
Game 1 29:45 30 9-for-16
Game 2 26:17 22 8-for-12
Game 3 27:54 36 14-for-18

Put simply, the Wizards have absolutely no answer for Embiid.

Efficient Sixers

It's hard to know if the Sixers deserve the credit or the Wizards deserve more of the blame for the Philadelphia scoring outburst but it came all to easy for the No. 1 seed.

Philadelphia finished the night shooting 58.6 percent from the field and 51.5 from beyond the arc, as the scoring procession continued with little resistance.

Along with a big night for Embiid, Tobias Harris continued his strong series, finishing with 20 points, 13 rebounds and five assists on 8-for-14 from the floor.

The scheduled Danny Green game

Right through his extensive postseason career, Danny Green has exploded for individual scoring outbursts in important games.

Game 3 against the Wizards was that game. With Washington threatening to hang around, it was Green who delivered timely triple after timely triple.

The veteran wing knocked down five first half triples to score all 15 of his points in the opening quarter.

Westbrook battles on

Prior to the game, ESPN's Malika Andrews reported that Russell Westbrook would need to head to the locker room for treatment on his ankle throughout the night.

Clearly below 100 percent, Westbrook left it all on the floor in this one, finishing with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

The triple-double was the 11th in his postseason career, in addition to his NBA all-time record 184 regular season triple doubles.

Brooks makes lineup adjustment

Perhaps seeking some added size and scoring punch, Washington head coach Scott Brooks inserted Davis Bertans into the starting lineup for Game 3.

Scoreless of the bench in his last outing, Bertans had limited impact in this one, adding just eight points on 1-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

In addition to the limited scoring, the 6-foot-10 forward failed to reel in a single rebound in 31 minutes of court time. His impact simply wasn't good enough.

What's next?

It's win-or-go-home from here on out for the Wizards. After the Miami Heat were swept earlier in the day by the Milwaukee Bucks, teams are now 0-141 in NBA history when facing a 3-0 deficit.

Game 4 is on Monday, May 31, tip is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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