Okafor propels Sixers past Washington
Jahlil Okafor scored 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting to lead the struggling Philadelphia 76ers to a 109-102 victory over the injury-plagued Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
PHILADELPHIA >> Jahlil Okafor scored 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting to lead the struggling Philadelphia 76ers to a 109-102 victory over the injury-plagued Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
Ersan Ilyasova had 16 points, Nik Stauskas scored 15 points, and Gerald Henerson 14 to help the 76ers win for just the second time in 11 games this season. Dario Saric added 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The 76ers were without leading-scorer Joel Embiid, the third pick overall in the 2014 NBA draft, who has been brought along slowly after missing two seasons because of two foot surgeries.
John Wall scored 23 of his 27 points in the second half and Markieff Morris had 19 points for the Wizards. Washington was without second-leading scorer Bradley Beal. Otto Porter Jr. had 15 points and 13 rebounds, Marcin Gortat added 10 points and 14 boards, and Marcus Thornton also scored 10.
Okafor fouled out of the game with 2:56 remaining in the fourth and the Sixers holding a 101-93 lead. Washington then made a run, pulling to 103-100 with 1:29 to play.
However, after a timeout, Richaun Holmes made a 3-pointer from just in front of the Wizards’ bench to extend the lead to six points with 1:10 remaining.
Washington was held to just one basket in their final three possessions.
The Sixers opened the game with an 11-4 run, thanks in part to Ilyasova’s eight points in the opening quarter. The Wizards responded by scoring the next six points, but the Sixers went on an 11-2 run to end the first quarter with a 29-15 lead.
Okafor had just two points in the opening quarter but played just 3:27. He had 10 points in 5:54 to finish the first half with a team-high 12 points.
Wall, meanwhile, saw just 7:28 in the first half and managed just four points on 1-for-4 shooting.
Wizards: Beal sat out his third straight game with a right thigh injury and is questionable for Thursday night’s game against the Knicks. “Every day he is feeling a little better,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We just want to be cautious about it.” Sheldon McClellan started his second game in a row in place of Beal, while Marcus Thornton came off the bench.
76ers: With the Sixers visiting Minnesota on Thursday night, Embiid, who is leading the team with 18.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks, sat out his fourth game of the season. Embiid, who last played on Monday against Houston, is expected to be limited to 24 minutes through Christmas. “I follow the instruction (of our medical staff),” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “It’s really that simple. It’s completely designed to what is best for Joel Embiid.”
Okafor played in his ninth game and has been cleared to play in Thursday’s game against the Timbervolves, although he is likely to have minutes restrictions.
Wizards: Host New York on Thursday night.
76ers: At Minnesota on Thursday night as they try to end a 20-game road losing streak.
Philadelphia 76ers’ Nik Stauskas goes up for a shot during the second half against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.