The Philadelphia 76ers will look to continue their winning ways — and get a valuable player back in the process — on Tuesday night when they visit the Washington Wizards.
The 76ers are riding high after extending their winning streak to eight games with a 119-112 victory over the Knicks in New York on Sunday.
Philadelphia received quite the Christmas gift after overcoming a double-digit deficit in the first half for the second straight game. The 76ers trailed by 20 points in the first half on Friday before storming back for a 119-114 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Being down didn’t faze the group,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said. “They have an inner confidence, and that’s good thing for your team.”
What’s also good for your team is having Joel Embiid and James Harden playing like elite talents. In Sunday’s opener of a four-game trip, Embiid had 35 points and eight rebounds, while Harden contributed 29 points, 13 assists and four steals.
Harden joined De’Anthony Melton in making five 3-pointers, and Georges Niang knocked down four for the 76ers, who shot a robust 46.2 percent from beyond the arc (18 of 39) against the Knicks.
Philadelphia also is looking forward to the return of Tyrese Maxey on Tuesday. Rivers said the 22-year-old was close to coming back from his left-foot fracture on Friday, and he accompanied the team to New York on Sunday.
Multiple reports on Monday indicated Maxey indeed would return after missing 17 games because of the injury he sustained against the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 18. He is averaging 22.9 points, 4.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 15 games.
“We’re going to add Tyrese back into the equation,” Harden said. “He’s a huge part of what we want to do. It won’t be that hard. There’s a lot of questions, but it’s good questions to have, good problems to have.”
Maxey scored 28 and 32 points, respectively, as Philadelphia split a home-and-home series with Washington on Oct. 31 and Nov. 2.
Wizards star Kristaps Porzingis scored 32 points against the 76ers in a 118-111 home loss in the first contest. He followed that with 30 in the 121-111 victory in Philadelphia in the rematch.
Porzingis struggled mightily with his shot in Washington’s last game, however. He made just 2 of 11 attempts from the floor and misfired on all three of his shots from beyond the arc in the Wizards’ 125-111 victory over the Kings in Sacramento on Friday.
Kyle Kuzma more than picked up the slack, making 14 of 23 shots from the floor to finish with 32 points. He added nine rebounds and five assists, marking his fourth game of his career — and second of the season — in which he collected at least 30 points, five boards and five assists.
“I just put my hard hat on every night,” Kuzma said. “I come ready to play. I’ve got something to prove to myself every single night. I’m ready and I’m available for my teammates. I have the same mentality every night.”
Bradley Beal finished with 24 points, marking the 15th time in his last 16 games played that he has scored at least 20.
The Wizards could welcome back Deni Avdija and Will Barton on Tuesday. Both players are dealing with lower-back soreness.
The 76ers on Monday signed forward Louis King to a two-way contract and waived guard Saben Lee. King was averaging 20.1 points and 4.4 rebounds a game in the G-League while Lee played in two games for the Sixers, averaging 3 points.
–Field Level Media