(REUTERS) – Joel Embiid scored 36 points before sitting out the fourth quarter as the visiting Philadelphia 76ers cruised to a 132-103 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday (May 29) in Game 3 of their National Basketball Association (NBA) Eastern Conference first-round series.
Embiid’s point total served as a play-off career high.
His previous best was a 34-point performance in Philadelphia’s 128-101 loss to Boston in Game 2 of a first-round series on Aug 19, 2020.
He made 14 of 18 shots from the floor on Saturday.
He added eight rebounds and three steals.
Tobias Harris collected 20 points and 13 rebounds for the 76ers, who shot 58.6 per cent from the floor and 51.5 per cent from three-point range to seize a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series.
Top-seeded Philadelphia can close out eighth-seeded Washington in Game 4 on Monday night.
Danny Green sank five three-pointers to highlight his 15-point performance and Seth Curry made three from beyond the arc en route to finishing with 15 points.
Ben Simmons added 14 points and nine assists.
Washington’s Russell Westbrook recorded 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists despite being hampered by an ankle injury sustained in Game 2.
Bradley Beal added 25 points in defeat.
Curry, Green, Harris and Embiid each drained a three-pointer as part of an early 17-2 run for Philadelphia.
The spirited surge gave the 76ers a 29-13 lead before Washington was able to halve the deficit by the end of the first quarter.
Undaunted, Green sank a three-pointer on consecutive possessions to push Philadelphia’s advantage to 62-50 with 4 minutes and 16 seconds left in the second quarter.
Washington slowly chipped away before Embiid provided the signature moment of the half by using a ball-fake before powering home a one-handed dunk to set up a three-point play.
Westbrook sank a pair of three-pointers to give Washington some momentum to begin the third quarter before the 76ers steadily took control of the game.
Harris made a pair of floating jumpers and Curry connected from three-point range to highlight a quick 7-0 surge that gave Philadelphia an 87-69 lead.
The outcome was never in doubt after that.
In Memphis, Donovan Mitchell completed a three-point play with 4min 4sec remaining and top-seeded Utah survived a late challenge from host Memphis for a 121-111 win in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round play-off series.
Mitchell saved 10 of his game-high 29 points for the final four minutes, during which the Jazz outscored the Grizzlies 14-2 to go up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Mike Conley scored 27 to go with a team-high eight assists for Utah.
Grayson Allen came off the bench with five three-pointers to account for almost all of his 17 points, while both Kyle Anderson (11 points, 13 rebounds) and Jonas Valanciunas (10 points, 13 rebounds) produced double-doubles for Memphis.
In Portland, Norman Powell scored 29 points and CJ McCollum added 21 as the hosts Trail Blazers beat Denver 115-95 in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series.
Jusuf Nurkic had 17 points, Damian Lillard collected 10 points and 10 assists and Carmelo Anthony scored 12 points on his 37th birthday to help the Trail Blazers even the series at 2-2.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Denver.
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